tv Today in Washington CSPAN July 27, 2011 2:00am-6:00am EDT
good morning, everybody. the committee meets this morning to consider the nomination of general martin dempsey to be chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. it was not long ago that general denvercy came before us for his nomination hearing to being chief of the army. we welcome him back again with thanks to him of his 36 years of
service to our nation and his willingness to serve as chief of staff. as we know general dempsey is a well qualified american soldier and leader. as we were reminded at his last hearing he's also a proud husband, father and grandfather. general dempsey, we remain grateful for the sacrifices that you and your family have made over the years. for the devotion of your beloved wife and the military service of your daughters and your son. as is our tradition at the beginning of your testimony, we would welcome your introducing to us any family members and friends who may be with you this morning. general denvercy will replace admiral mike mullen as the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff the most senior military advisor in the department of defense. admiral mullen's service in the last four years, during the daunting challenges of the worse in iraq and afghanistan have
been truly remarkable and the nation owes him our deepest gratitude. it is appropriate at today's hearing also to note the passing last week of former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, retired arm general john shalikashivili. his personal story is well known, rising from post-world war ii immigrant youth to chairman of the joint chiefs. his example of patriotism, leadership and selfless service to the nation and our armed forces inspired the generation that leads our military today. for those of us who knew him, we treasured his professionalism, his candor, and his deep love for america and our men and women in uniform. general denver mpsey's confirma will help the transition to president obama's new security team which have seen significant changes in the last few months.
the next chairman will face demanding challenges, operations in afghanistan and iraq continue to at the same time the fiscal realities that confront the nation will put tremendous pressures on the defense department's budget. those fiscal realities require us when considering defense planning and programs to take into consideration historic budgetary constraints. admiral mullen said our national debt is our biggest national security problem. most everyone agrees the defense department cannot be immune from efforts to bring our fiscal house in order. we have been told that the department is conducting a comprehensive program review and that the details are not yet known but it is likely that this review will include significant additional suggested reductions in the 2012 budget request. cuts that are even more than the $6 billion reduction to the
department's request that this committee recently reported in our fy-2012 authorization bill. the department will have to make tough funding choices and we will need our military's best advice on how to reduce spending that realistically manages risk in ways that adequately addresses our top national security challenges. we will be interested in hearing general dempsey's thoughts on defense spending and in particular whatever he could tell us about the comprehensive national security review that i referred to. the next chairman of the joint chiefs will also have to manage the transition of security responsibility and the draw down of u.s. forces in both iraq and afghanistan. in iraq the coming months will be crucial. leading up to the december 2011 deadline for the withdrawal of our remaining 49,000 u.s. troops. even though there are still concerns in iraq, over their security forces capacity, to
assume full responsibility for iraq's security, iraq's political leaders have yet to request that the united states consider retaining a u.s. troop presence there beyond the end the year deadline set by president bush for complete military withdrawal. we would be interested to hear what general dempsey's recommendations would be if the government of iraq makes a timely request for a continuing u.s. troop presence beyond 2011. in afghanistan, the president has set a course for transitioning increased security responsibility to the afghans and drawing down u.s. forces beginning with the withdrawal of 10,000 u.s. troops by the end of this year and bringing the balance of 33,000 u.s. surge forces home by next summer. i applaud the president for sticking to the july 2011 date that he set in his west point
speech one and a half years ago for the beginning of the draw down. doing so offers the best chance of success for the counter insurgency campaign in afghanistan. that is getting afghan security forces in the position to take principal charge of that nation's security. the scene of urgency that this timetable created at the highest levels of the afghan government contributed to a surge of some 100,000 additional afghan security forces in just the last year and a half. over the next 15 months the afghan security forces will be increasingly in the lead in operations, while another 70,000 afghan soldiers and police will be added to their ranks. at the same time, general john allen the commander of coalition forces in afghanistan stated that the campaign plan calls for more and more afghan security forces to be partnered in operations with fewer coalition
forces. the growth and the capabilities of the afghan security forces, both in quantity and professionalism has already made possible the first phase of transition to an afghan lead for security in a number provinces and areas in afghanistan. in achieving our goals in afghanistan remains pakistan's failure to act against militant extremists like the network in the north, the afghan taliban and other militant extremists. we will be interested in hearing general dempsey's thoughts on how to get the pakistan military to go after terrorist groups finding sanctuary in pakistan's tribal regions. al qaeda and the arabian peninsula in yemen and al qaeda elements in somalia continue to take advantage of failing and failed states to train their operatives and to plan attacks
against the united states and our interests. it is critical that we don't apply significant pressure to these terrorist organizations, and to work with governments and international organizations in the region to address the long term problems. iran remains probably the greatest risk to world peace and to regional stability. we share the concerns of many nations about iran's continued support of terrorist activities beyond its borders, development of its missile programs, and refusal to cooperate with the international atomic energy commission. while we've seen evidence that the international sanctions has put treasure on iran more remains to be done to pressure iran to give up its nuclear weapons ambitions. in libya our armed forces continue to provide unique enabling capabilities to our partners as they carry out the united nations mandate to protect libyan civilian from a
dictator bent on killing his own people and destroying a country. in the dynamic asian-pacific region we're committed to work with our allies and partners to maintain peace and stability and to align our forces in a way that's both strategically sound and fiscally responsible. this is not only true in northeast asia where the united states is realigning its forces in korea and japan but also true in south and southeast asia. general dempsey's leadership will be critical in determining how the defense department and, indeed, the nation addresses the many and growing threats to our cyber security. all of our military communications, weapon systems, support, intelligence and virtually everything else that the department of defense does relies on cyber networks making sure we that have policies,
practices and technologies to reliably support military operations is a matter of increasing urgency. a recent critical gao report emphasized the urgency of having a clear and coordinated cyber policy put in place. general dempsey no doubt will also be called upon to help develop national cyber security policies such as when does a cyber attack on activities or entities in the united states require or justify a u.s. offensive response cyber or otherwise. and we'll be interested in hearing general dempsey's views on that. repeated deployments of our military over the last decade has resulted in many of our service men and women being away from their families and homes for many tours. stressing our service members and their families. reducing the demand for deployed
force is essential to increasing time at home station, increasing unit readiness and reducing our strategic risk in the event of an unforeseen contingency. we look forward to hearing general dempsey's views on how best to manage both the demand for rotational forces and how we meet that demand while restoring our strategic be debt that is the readiness of our nondeployed forces. the nation could not be more proud of our troops and their families. we're grateful for general dempsey's leadership and his willingness to assume greater responsibility for the readiness, deployment and care of all of our forces and the families that support them. senator mccain. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to add my welcome to general dempsey and his family, his wife and congratulate him on this nomination.
i first want to express my condolences to the family of general john shalikashivili who passed away last saturday. general shalikashivili was born.land of georgian parents in 1936, fled from the advancing soviets near the end of world war ii. came to the united states as a teenager and rose from the ranks to become chairman of the joint chiefs of staff from 1993 to 1997. and he was great american patriot and army leader. general dempsey, just three months ago on april 11th you became chief of staff of the army. you're now poised to become joint chief of staff. you're prepared well to become the principal military advisor to the president and leader of the joint chiefs. without question your combat experience and career military leadership, your service as acting commander of u.s. central
command, and your thorough understanding of our transforming force stressed by a decade of combat will serve you well as strategic decisions regarding iraq and afghanistan must be made and we face hard calls about our priorities in the future. we're conducting this hearing at a time when americans are deeply frustrated. over the enormous debt we've accumulated in the effects of runaway entitlement spending on our economy and on our future. it's in this very difficult fiscal environment there's no doubt that the defense budget will be constrained in the years ahead as we seek to solve our debt crisis. clearly the department of defense cannot afford to waste taxpayers resources on pentagon programs that are over cost, behind schedule or fail to provide an increase in war fighting capability to our troops. however, i hope that the president and secretary of
defense with your assistance and advice and counsel, will realize that defense expenditures following attacks of september 11th, which were preceded by nearly a decade of drastic reductions in military personnel, equipment and readiness, are not the cause of the economic dilemma we find ourselves in today. congress and the president must address tissue of unsustainable deficit spending, and unprecedented debt and nondefense spending and on entitlements, which will impact the future much our military during your term. since this year began, the president has already asked the defense department to cut more than $178 billion by finding efficiencies in taking top line reductions in proposed defense spending over the next five years. but even the current direction by the president to cut an additional $400 billion in defense spending by 2023 have
been eclipsed by some debt reduction proposals that include 800 billion to a trillion dollars in cuts. i would be the first to suggest that the defense department budget could be responsibly reduced and reasonable people can disagree over how deep those cuts should be. but what concerns me most about our current debate is that the defense cuts being discussed have little or no strategic or military rationale to support them. numbers on a page. our national defense planning and spending must be considered by driven strategy not arbitrary arithmetic. the defense cuts propose minimal if any understanding of how they'll be applied or any impacts on our defense
capabilities. second net ta has made it clear that more reviews will further the cuts, the congress has no indication of how the proposals would impact the size of our military forces, what changes they would require to our compensation system, what equipment and weapons would have to be cancels as a result or what additional ris tok the readiness and modernization of our forces and their congresswomen we would have to accept. if congress is to make informed decisions about our national defense spending we need information like this. and i hope mr. chairman that we can begin holding hearings on this important subject. i hope that you'll carefully department monitoring contracting and expenditures. your frankness and candor on how money spent by the department will be much needed by the congress as we assess how to direct pentagon spending. general dempsey, obviously i'm
confident you'll be confirmed. i hope you and secretary panetta will avoid misguided reductions in defense spending that cut into the muscle of our military capable iitys. defense spending is not what is sinking this country into fiscal crisis. if the congress and president act on that flawed assumption, they will create a situation that is truly unaffordable. the hollowing out of u.s. military power and the loss of faith in our military members and their families. i trust that you will have the ability and confidence to advise the president and congress on your views regarding the health of our military and the ability of our forces to meet our cooperative security commitments with our alies around the world. we will need an honest and forthright military assessment of the impact on funding decisions. i look forward to your opinions today and on these matters and
again my congratulations, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much senator mccain. general dempsey. >> chairman levin, senator mccain, distinguished members of the senate armed services committee, i'm honored by the opportunity to appear before you today in support of my nomination as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. i want to thank the president and both secretaries that is gates and panetta for their confidence in me. i want to compliment admiral mike mullen for his remarkable service over more than four decades as he nears the end of a distinguished career. i would as well like to add my condolences to the family of general john shalikashvili. she was an accomplished sol jerp and a great american. as always when something important is happening in my life i'm joined by my wife. i met her 41 years ago and she's been my wife for over 35 of those years. i've asked a lot of her and she's always given more than i've asked.
we have three wonderful children, three near perfect grandchildren and three for on the way. we're blessed to have several brigades of men and women in uniform with whom we've served and consider our extended family. it's on their shoulders that i've been lifted up today to be considered for this position. it won't surprise you to know that the glue that holds all of that together is my wife. i can't thank her enough for her love and support and for her dedication to our military, its families and our nation. i appear before this committee a few short months ago. as far as i can tell my tenure as 37th chief of staff of the army hasn't changed me very much. however, now that i'm nominated as chairman the images that drive me are beginning to change. i'm share just one of those images. in 2008 as the acting commander of u.s. central command i visited the aircraft carrier uss abraham lincoln. in the indian ocean and observed flight operations there that
were being conducted in support of ground operations in afghanistan. as i watched these brave young men and women departing on their missions i saw looming in the background on the superstructure of the aircraft airier the imposing profile of abraham lincoln. and enskriebd above that image were it be words, shall not perish. taken of course from lincoln's gettysburg address. it occurred to me then as it remind me now those who volunteer to seven our country in uniform understand what's at stake when we send them into harm's way. i relate this story simply to assure you that i know what this nomination means and i will do my best to live up to the responsibility. if confirmed i will work with the joint chiefs to ensure that this nation has the military it needs. it's clear we have work to finish in the current conflicts and it should be just as clear that we have work to do in preparing for an uncertain future. our work must result in a joint
force that is responsive, decisive, versatile, interdependent and affordable. we must keep faith with servicemen and women, their families and our veterans. we're all very proud of the military forces of the united states. and this committee has been instrumental in making it the finest force ever assembled anywhere at any time. we're also aware that a new fiscal reality confronts us. in 1973 as chief of staff of the army, general abrams led is out of the vietnam conflict, he said that it was the enduring role of the army to ensure that america remains immune from coercion. that benchmark remains as true today as it was 38 years ago. it applies of course not only to our army, but to all our services. i look forward to working with the joint chiefs with our civilian leaders and with the members of this committee to
adapt the united states military to a new fiscal reality while ensuring as my primary responsibility that america remains immune from coercion. should you confirm me as chairman, you have my solemn commitment to those tasks. thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, general dempsey. general, the committee has a series of standard questions that we ask all of our nominees. have you adhered to applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interests? >> i do. >> do you agree to give your personal views even if those views differ from the administration in power? >> i will. >> have you siemed any duties or undertaken any actions which would presume to assume the outcome of the confirmation process? >> i have not. >> will you ensure your staff complies with requests for
questions? >> i will. >> will you cooperate with providing witnesses and briefers in response to congressional requests? >> i will. >> will those witnesses be protected from repiezal for testimony or brief sngs. >> they will. >> do you agree to confirm to testify bmpb this committee? >> i do. >> do you agree to provide documents when requested or to consult with the committee regarding the basis for any good faith delay or denial in providing such documents? >> i do. >> let us have a seven-minute first round here. i understand there's a vote at around 12 .15. -- 12:15. general, first relative to afghanistan. on june 22nd, president obama announced his decision that the united states would draw down its forces in afghanistan by 10,000 by the end of this year and the remaining 23,000 u.s.
surge forces by the end of the sum every in 2012 for a total draw down of 33,000. do you agree with the president's decision on these reductions? >> i do, senator. i've been in contact with both general petraeus and now general allen. based on their military judgments and options they presented i do agree with the decision taken. >> how important is it to the success of the counterinsurgentsy campaign in afghanistan that we maintain the momentum for transition more and more responsibility to the afghan security forces for their country's security? >> well, as it was in iraq and is now in afghanistan, it is the transition at tend of the day that will determine our successful outcome. it does take a great deal of thought, a great deal of deliberation and collaboration to understand the capabilities as they are accrued by security forces of those nations where we task ourselves to build those
security forces. >>. >> a recent defense department report called the extremist network quote the most significant threat in eastern afghanistan. and yet they continue to find safe haven across the border in pakistan and the pakistan army has so far refused to conduct major operations to eliminate the sanctuary in the tribal area. will you press the government of pakistan to take the fight to the network in the north? >> i will, senator. as the acting commander -- in those days we talked about four particular networks that existed along the afghan-pak border. we encouraged our pakistani counterparts to press them. they have pressed some of those groups, but not all. it's not always been clear to us exactly why they press some but
not all. but i will continue to work with pakistan to reduce the safe haven on the pak border. >> in answers to your prehearing questions you state that in working with pakistan on security cooperation we should not push programs that pakistanis do not want because doing so dilutes the value of u.s. cooperation. and you call for a frank and respectful dialogue in order for security cooperation to be successful. can you give us your assessment on the dod programs of assistance to pakistan, in particular the coalition support funds and the pakistan counterinsurgency fund and to el us whether or not those are programs that the pakistanis want or whether or not we've been pushing them on pakistan, which is reduced pakistan's buy into those assistance programs? >> i'd reflect back on my tour
as the acting director in answering this question. i'm not current on the state of the coalition support funds and the programs you described as they have evolved. i will tell you it's always been a matter of discussion between us and our pakistan counterparts about what threats are most serious to them and to us. as you know, they persist in the idea that the india poses an exsister-in-law threat to their existence while terrorists that operate in the fattah are less threat to them and therefore they allocate their resources accordingly and they embrace different engagement activities with us differently. we have been over the course of time working to convince them that the terrorist threat, the
extremist threat and to their west is as great a threat and probably a greater threat to them than any threat that india might pose. but it's on that basis, it's on that select chal disagreement about what is most threatening to them that these programs are viewed. so we would tend to view programs to improve counterinsurgency capability and their general purpose forces, policing and security role for their frontier core. we would tend to view those as more important than the higher end processes and programs. it's just one of those things we have to continue to work through. >> thank you. there's been a great deal of discussion about standards of interrogation and detainee treatment in some of the language in our authorization bill relates to that subject. first, do you support the stand address for interrogation and
detainee treatment which are specified in the army field manual in interrogations? >> i do, senator. >> would you tell us why. >> well, i had a hand in preparing them. so i have a certain sense of ownership for them. i do think that they articulate the nexus of the importance of gaining intelligence with the importance of preserving our values as a in addition and as an army. >> would you agree that the standard for detainee treatment should be based on principal of reciprocity which in other words that the manner in which we treat detainees that are under our control may have a direct impact on how u.s. troops are treated should they be captured in future conflicts. >> i do believe that reciprocity should be one of the zblsh.
>> we are a victim of cyber attack is to how we should respond and of course, i guess the real question is whether or not we can identify the attacker as being a state actor. and whether or not an attack is intentional or not could be an act of espionage, which we engage in ourselves. we engage in espionage and those acts are not considered to be acts of war. on the other hand, if something intentionally damages or destroys a facility or another entity in another country that
would seem to be to be an act of war or an aggressive act which requires a response. can you give us your thinking about the whole growing, emerging issue of cyber attacks and should the defense department participate in determining what the response is through those attacks. >> i can senator, but i'll confess at the start that my thinking on this is nascent at best. it has been suggested to me that if cob firmed the issue of cyber and cyber warfare, the cyber domain will probably be one of a handful of issues that define my tenure as chairman. so i'm taking a greater interest in it. i have some thoughts on it right now as well. the decision about whether something is an act of war or whether we would respond to it is of course a political decision. it's the role of the department and if confirmed with my advice
on chairman on how to respond to it. at this point my greater interest is in determining what capabilities we must provide the nation to be prepared to respond should we be attacked and should the determination be made that it was a hostile act or an act of war. and you described the challenge very articulatity. it's very hard to trace fingerprints and threads through the cyber domain because of the ability to use servers at remote locations. it's a place, a domain will anonymity is more an issue than it might be in the domains of space, air, land or sea. that said, we have done a lot of work, you know, that the president published a policy in may of 2011. that was followed up just a week ago by department of defense declaration by -- at this point, i'm in the process of studying that. i've got a series of meetings scheduled if confirmed between the time i'm confirmed and when
i take the job with those who are delivering that capability today to better understand it. >> thank you very much. senator mccain? >> thank you, mr. chairman. again congratulations, general. just a follow up on what chairman levin said. want to assess the capabilities but you've got to develop a strategy and policy before -- that comes before capabilities in all due respect. this is a serious issue. congress has not done its job. but certainly dod has not done its job to just say we're going to assess our capabilities, we've got to develop a strategy. this is a serious, serious issue. it gets hardly -- when you pick up the newspaper every week or so that somebody hasn't been hacked into. not always military, but industrial, which obviously are key to our nation's economic and
military success. so i suggest you start working on a policy. i suggest we here in the congress start working on legislation which would implement that policy. i hate to keep going back to this issue of the withdrawal from afghanistan. now, the president announced a draw down as you know and you said you supported it. was it recommended by any military leader, the president's schedule for the draw down? >> well, senator, my understanding is that general petraeus proposed three options. i haven't talked to him about how he felt about those options, but no military man would propose an option he considered to be infeasible. and that the president chose one of those three options -- >> general petraeus did not give him this option of the withdrawal accelerate -- accelerated withdrawal so they didn't have two fighting seasons. i'm sure you know that? >> i do not know that.
>> you do not know that? >> i'll send you the testimony of general petraeus before this committee and i'm disappointed that you didn't know that because it was not recommended by a military leader nor would it be. in fact, general petraeus and others have testified that it increased the risk, do you share that view? >> i think it did increase the risk, yes. >> unnecessary risk in my view. i want to talk about budget cuts. you just left as chief of staff of the army. and you understand that -- i understand the president has called for $800 billion in budget cuts, is that correct? >> the current number we're targeting is $4 4u7b billion senator over 12 years. >> have you developed any plans as how to implement that? >> we are working on that even as we speak. we've got a task from the
department to look at what the impact of that budget cut would be. >> and when can we expect to have that assessment since the appropriations process moves on here? >> senator, we've got a task to try to keep -- back to your point about strategy, we've got a task to keep strategy running parallel with resource decisions. the comprehensive strategy that the chairman mentioned is due for completion some time in late september, early october. >> so, we have announced cuts without the strategy to go along with it? not as comforting. >> well, senator, what i would describe we've announced a target and trying to determine the impact to meet that target. >> wouldn't in most cases that i've seen strategy has been developed and then the budget for it is arrived at not the other way around. >> well, sir, because i can soundly speak as chief of staff as the army because the cuts are
articulated over ten or 12 years, it will affect four program operating memorandums. so decisions taken in 13, 17 would not be bindsing on the following three targets but would affect that program operating memorandum. >> we are talking about $80 billion developed for next year, is that correct is this. >> potentially. >> potentially? >> against -- >> isn't that what the president's called for? >> he has, sir. but we have not provided the analysis back to the secretary of defense on what the impact would be as yet. >> which brings me again full circle. we've announced cuts without a commensurate assessment of the impact of those cuts. in your view what would an $800 to $1 trillion cut in defense spending due to our readiness? >> senator, i haven't been asked to look at that number. i have looked and we are look at
$400. i would react in this way, based on the difficulty of achieving the $400 billion cut, i believe $800 would be extraordinarily difficult and very high risk. >> back to our -- forget to mention at the beginning of our conversation an article yesterday u.s. draw down internal crises fuel fears for afghanistan. the start of u.s. troop draw down in iraq of overlapping security political, economic crises are fuelling fears that afghanistan could sink into wholesale turmoil and even civil war as the u.s. led international combat mission winds up at the end of 2014. are you concerned about that? >> yes, sir, i am. >> on the supply ruts for afghanistan, as you know our relations with pakistan have hit in the vow of most observers an
all time low. have you assessed and looked at your previous role on the impact to our ability to supply the forces in afghanistan if the pakistanis cut off those supply routes across pakistan? >> yes, senator, we have. >> what's been your conclusion? >> the conclusion is that we would have to rely more on what we describe as the northern supply route, which does exist. and that it would be more expensive. >> would there be a period of time between the time that suppose tomorrow pakistan cut it off. what would be the period of time between 4 then and when you'd be able to maintain the same level of supply through the northern routes or air resupply? >> it would be a classified issue of how many days of supply we maintain inside the country. beyond that we believe if that southern supply route were cut off that we could react. >> could react? there could be a delay? >> yes, sir. but in a way that would not
jeopardize the mission. >> would not jeopardize the mission. a group chartered by the secretary of the army to look into how the army prokurs major weapon systems found that every year since 1996 the army has spent more than $1 billion annually on programs that were ultimately cancelled since 2004 $3.3 billion to $3.8 billion per year of army developmental testing and evaluation funding has been lost to cancelled programs including the now cancelled future combat system program. as we know the cost of the f-35 has lurched completely out of control. the few short months after the awarding of the contract to boeing for the new tankard is now an additional billion
dollars in cost and the list goes on and on. what's the level of your concern and what do you think we ought to be doing about it? >> well, senator as with r we discussed when i was here a few months ago, i would never sit here and try to justify -- it would be impossible to sit here and justify the current process given that it has not delivered the capabilities we've required at -- within the resources available to do so. and so i think that we're at a point where we absolutely have to seek acquisition reform. i know that the undersecretary of defense for acquisition is seeking that. i know about where were helped by the weapons system acquisition reform act. you know that the department based on that is seeking the better buying power initiative.
we're working toward it. as you know right now there's probably a reason to consider a different role for the service chiefs in acquisition. right now it's bifurcated. service chiefs do requirements, acquisition does materials solution. that hasn't worked i think it has to be revisited. so i completely agree with your assessment of our current state. nevertheless, we need capabilities. it will be my role if confirmed to argue for that fifth generation fighter. but a fifth generation fighter that the nation can afford. therefore the way to that is through acquisition reform. >> i thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, general. >> senator reid. >> thank you very much mr. chairman and thank you general dempsey for your service to the army and the nation. i have ever confidence you're going to be a superb chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.
i want to recognize you and your family. i think i properly pointed out to your chairman although you were high school sweethearts you married after west point. i want to make sure of that because that's problematic otherwise. i also want to salute admiral mullen for his extraordinary service and join my colleagues in recognizing the extraordinary service of general john shalikashvili. general shalikashvili proudly said he was a citizen of only one country, the yoits of america despite where he was born and where he traveled. he was the consummate citizen soldier. to his family, my deepest sympathies. the issue that is before us and eluded to and talked about in your previous hearing as chief of staff now is the budget. and with the sake of risking over simplification there's three major categories that you have to deal with, force
structure. including paying allowances in this context, the reserve forces and retired forces and the national guard, but particularly retirees. equipment, procurement, how much, it cost, what do you need, can you suspend acquisitions. and finally the issue of operations and trabing. where we're going to go in the operational sense and how we're going to train. with that as a very, very broad context, can you comment upon the approach you're going to take with respect to these issues and the budget you face? >> yes, senator. i think the important point to make in the question of how to absorb reductions or debt total obligating authority is really to re-enforce that it must touch each of the things you mentioned. we will not be able to change the size and the capability of the force and i'll speak for the
army because i'm immersed in it now unless we do so by touching each of those areas you talked about. for example, if we try to artificially preserve manpower we will suffer the consequences in modernization and operations maintenance and training. conversely if we go after just manpower it won't make any sense to have the kind of resources and operations in maintenance and training. this really requires us to maintain balance as we make any changes that become necessary by virtue of budget support. i'll also say that includes pay, compensation, retirement, and health care because it's important that we place everything on the table, assess the impact and then request the time to do it in a deliberate fashion so we can maintain balance at whatever level we end
up at. >> when you address the issue of compensation and health care, there are two factors. one is the relationship between funding those programs, do you propose to make that explicit. it's no longer the possibility of simply adding more money that there has to be trade offs between operations, training, troops in the field, their safety and some of the benefits for retirees? >> i think, yes. if i could just elaborate for a moment. >> yes, sir. >> i think it's very important that we maintain an open dialogue with all pars of this total force active guard
reserve, families, retirees, to help them understand the challenge. the challenge is simply this, again, i'm speaking just for the army. right now our manpower costs consume approximately 42% of our budget. left unabated that is to say, left unaddressed that will rise to approximately 47% or 48% by 2017. that is not sustainable. so the question then comes back what should we do about it, and how can we do so in a way that maintains the trust we've established with our force overtime in contact. i'll say one other thing, what makes this budget discussion different, i'm a student of history as you know, i've studied the post vietnam period. i've studied the post desert storm, desert shield period. what makes this period different is we're doing all this wile we're still actively engaged in conflict and we have young men and women in harm's way.
that adds a degree of complexity and a degree of uncertainty that i think we can't discount. >> final point with respect to this whole issue of how do you rebalance the personnel course, etsz. i presume your view would be to lead from the top, that senior officers and senior personnel would be the first ones to stand up and say if it's going to have to happen, it will happen with us, is that fair? >> did you have to ask me that question in front of my wife, senator? but the short answer is absolutely. i think it's leading from the top individually. i also think it's leading from the top and examining our structure which tends to be rather top heavy and in fact historically again if you look through conflicts headquarters grow in ways that have to be reconsidered and reformed after conflict. >> slightly change the subject, i think it relates to what we've been saying is that we are on
our way out of afghanistan as we are in iraq. going forward, you have to be prepared to successfully hand over a significant activities. so your success in transition is a function of the resources they must receive. my perception being here is when a defense budget is reduced, the state department budget is decimated. doe you one have those concerns? and two, consciously if we are going to maintain a credible security force beyond one or two years, we're going to have to internationally provide resources in afghani national forces. is that going to be one of your priority? my only historic hook here is the last soviet era leader survived two plus years after the soviets withdrew, but when
the resources and not just for military, but for everything dried up, his days were literally numbered. >> we certainly don't want to be guilty of refreezing the ep logue of charlie wilson's war. i take your point completely. my job will be given the strategic objectives in afghanistan to determine how best to meet them if and when u.s. force structure reduces what is it that compensates for that? is it afghan capacity, other agencies of government? as you know, the measure of national power is is aggregate of economic strength, diplomatic strength and military strength. all three of those have to participate in these outcomes and all three of these have to be considered as we look at these reductions to make sure we stay in balance in that way as well. >> thank you for your service and thank you for your family
service. >> thank you. >> thank you very much, senator reed. senator sessions. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you, general dempsey for your leadership and your commitment. your willingness to serve in harm's way. i noticed just looking at your bio, i looked at it because i remember seeing you in iraq and coming back and you were still there. i noticed you were there the first tour 16 months. came home to germany and were deployed there for ten months and back for 21 months. that's the kind of deployment that a number of our military people have made serving their country in dangerous areas of the globe. i just want to personally thank you for your commitment, and i think it reflects the kind of commitment many other enlisted people, many of our leaders in
the military have exhibited. miss dempsey, good to see you and thank you for being the good partner in those difficult years. i just want to follow up on senator mccain's comments about the budget. we've had a lot of people believe that the deficit is caused by the war in afghanistan and iraq. it certainly was not inexpensive. it's been an expensive process. last year is one of our highest years $158 billion committed to that effort. but our deficit, i say last year, the year we're in we're projected to spend $158 billion. it looks like our deficit this year will be $1,500 billion. a little more than 10% only if you eliminate the war of our deficit would be eliminated. over a period of time that pert
percentage has been fairly accurate about the cost of the war. i'd also am a bit troubled that some of the projections for our spending go from -- well next year we're projected to drop from $158 to $118 billion for the overall -- con tin generalsy operations. is that your understanding? >> it is, senator. >> i think is it the next year, 2013 that is projected to go to just $50 billion? >> i've seen that number, but i'm more confident in the $118 billion than i am on the follow on years. >> it will be a dramatic drop to $15 that -- $50 that quickly. i don't think that is likely to be achieved and i'm concerned about it. the president's budget projects $50 wl for the next, the rest of
the decade. i don't know if this is accurate or not. i would say that we can't let numbers like that drive the agenda. the agenda has to be if we can draw down our forces good, let's do it in a strategic smart way that does not put our soldiers or the goals they've put their lives at risk for in jeopardy. just to meet that kind of goal. i hope and expect that you would advise us if you think that number is nonacceptable. >> i wonder senator if i could -- i mentioned earlier that i'm not a man of numbers necessarily ork charts and diagrams, but images. would i ask my staff to pass out an image to you by way of answering your question, if i could. while the staff is handing this
image out, one of the things we've said consistently by predecessor and his predecessor when this conflict ends, however we define ends, it will take two years for us to reset the force because of the stress and strain on equipment and people. it will take us two years to reset. that reset should be in my judgment funded by oco. therefore it will be my responsibility on behalf of all the services to define what will it take to reset the force once we have the opportunity to do so. if i could ask you to glance at the picture. i've done a lot of thinking about what is it that will get us through, has gotten us through this last ten years. if someone had suggested to me ten years ago that we would be able to fight a war for ten years with an all volunteer force, i honestly would have been skeptical about it.
we have gotten through that. not only have gotten through it, we've actually flourished. the force is extraordinarily healthy. so whatever we do it's important to remember we're doing it from a foundation of great strength. it is truly the finest military force we ever had. all components. the reason i like that picture, my sergeant major doesn't like it because the soldier's not wearing his eye protection and he's got his sleeves rolled up. i asked him to get beyond that for a moment that picture speaks to me that image speaks to me on the issue of trust. and so the ore thing that we have to remember about ourselves -- it's trust as you see there's a soldier protecting that soldier's flank. he's wearing a wedding band they trust we'll take care of his family now and in the future. here's the point, he's on the radio and he's calling for something. could be a medevac, cub artillery. it's likely to be another
service that delivers it. here's the profound point not to forget, what makes us unique is that that noncommissioned officer believe he's going to get what he asked for. we are the only army on the face of the earth that believes that when you ask for something because you need it to prevail in the environment we place you, you're actually going to get it. as we do whatever we have to do with this force based on the resources, the one thing we cannot lose is that relationship of trust that exists that what that soldier, airman, sailor, marine or coastman needs to do the things we ask them to do, they've got to have it. that carries us through. i don't know about budget numbers. i do know i will not allow that relationship of trust to be violated. >> thank you. i think this is a very critical point. we have the finest military the world's ever assembled.
they are courageous. they put their live tons line. they've lost their lives in significant numbers and been injured significantly. but they do have to be confident that the people of this country are behind them and sometimes that means money. dollars to get them the things ta they need -- that they need. i appreciate your comments on that. general dempsey on a specific matter, i notice in your answers to the written questions, you note that you supported the decision to retain three brigade combat teams in yierp and that it -- this is the answer i'm sure staff helped you put it together since i noticed you have a master's in english at duke, typical of our high quality and highly educated officer corp., but it says to me a wide array of engagement building partner capacity and
interoperablity objectives while being able to support a full range of military operations needed for plausible european and gullible contingencies. i'm not sure what that means. but i don't think we need three brigades to do it there. the plan was to bring it to two. i understand we're talking about a new hospital. which if we pray we're successful in drawing down, maybe that can be scaled down. but that's the kind of things i think we need to ask about when our allies are spending about 1.2% of gdp on defense. 1.3% -- only a few of our nato allies are meeting the goal or coming close to the goal of 2%. while we're at over 4% of gdp on defense. i think we've got to ask yourselves can we continue to maintain that kind of forward
deployment of brigades when we were supposed to be reducing to two? my time is up, mr. chairman. i would just ask you, i know you've given that answer that you support the three, but i'd like you to say that you'll at least reconsider that in the months to come. >> first of all, senator i apologize for the run on sentence, that one got past me, apparently. i will say i am an advocate of forward presence. i want to be clear about that. for all the things it does for us, not just for our allies. secondly, i am a strong advocate of maintaining a strong relationship with our current allies, they've been tried and true. i know that we sometimes look and compare an individual nato country to us, the reality is in the aggregate they commit about $300 billion a year too defense in the aggregate. and they are serving very bravely and courageously with us in and stan. notably today i was at a
ceremony at the french embassy last night where the french presented five -- their equivalent of silver stars to our soldiers who served alongside with them. the french were very proud to note that they have a french battalion under our command without caveat in afghanistan. i think we should not in the midst of our current budget challenges undervalue our relationships overseas. now that said, the comment about whether it's two or three brigades in europe was made when we were shooting for $178 billion in reductions not $400. ill restate my earlier plaej in discussion with senator reed. everything is back on the table. >> i would agree. secretary gates has noted that our allies with exasperation he's urged them to do better and shared better and been
disappointed that they have not. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you senator sessions. senator webb. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i apologize for having to step out for a few minutes. i missed your exchange with senator reed and the beginning of your exchange with senator sessions. i hope these questions aren't redundant to those. first of all, we are going to be entering obviously into a period of reformulation of our national strategy and our posturing around the world. in many cases with the wind downs in iraq and eventually in afghanistan. i am wondering -- i've not seen anything on your views with respect to sea power as an instrument of national strategy. not simply in terms of supporting ongoing ground operations which was one of your comments earlier about
visiting -- actually, as -- in its historical role as a direct instrument of deterrents on a larger scale. >> well, sir, i both because of my time in the joint world and now as the member of the joint chiefs i am enormously proud of our navy and cognizant of and respectful of its role. i think one of the questions we have to ask yourselves in this strategic review is where are the new power centers across the globe? the navy has a traditional role in protecting the global commons with respect to obviously the maritime domain as the air force does and the aviation domain. but in terms of my views on sea power, i would say that my views on sea power are about the same as they are on land power. that is that we we should never get to the point where we have
to choose between a particular domain and another. we should be increasingly interdependent. i am concerned, by the way, about the navy shipbuilding program and the fact that we're sitting at 280 ships with a 313 -- with a suppressed demand for 313. some of the acquisition problems we have had are making it more difficult to get there. so i'm a big fan of the navy with one important exception that is on that saturday in november when we play the army-navy football game. >> having gone from the naval academy into the marine corp., i don't watch that game very often. so -- but it does seem to me that we are at tend of another inevitable historical cycle here when we have extended ground combat deployments that expand the size of the active duty army into the marine corp. at the expense very often of what i
would call national strategic assets like our operational navy. i think i'm hearing from you that the same thing i heard from secretary panetta that the 313 ship goal for the navy is a reasonable goal. would that be correct? >> well, my ingaugements over the past three months suggest to me that it is. but again, i think we had a conversation a bit earlier about how do we keep strategy at pace with resource decisions. so that comprehensive strategy review that we're doing should it seems to me re-enforce that or cause it to think differently about it. one of the things i think will happen to the question of whether we could absorb $400 billion, i don't know the answer to that. i don't know for the army and i certainly don't know for the joint force. but as we look at it there, we will reach a point where we have
to make a determination. can we execute the strategy we have today? which is what the 313 shipbuilding program is built to. can we continue to execute that strategy or do we have to change our strategy? that's the kind of questions and the answers to those questions that we owe you as a member of that committee? >> i would hope the reexamination of the strategy is a realization that the model that we put in place in afghanistan is not going to be the model of the future. it's enormously costly in more ways that show up in the direct dod budget as you know. one of the concerns that i've had since i've been here in the senate is with what i can only call a deterioration of the management aspects of the pentagon. i hope you'll really take a look at items such as data collection that's necessary to have debates on different issues.
i could give you a whole string of someone who worked over there as a manpower person and was used to some pretty fast turn arounds when data was requested. it took us a year to get the attrition data from the services that were necessary to analyze what percentage of the military actually left the military on or before the end of their first enlistment which was vitally important in the way that i was trying to advance the g.i. bill as a readjustment benefit. i just held a hearing as chairman of the personnel subcommittee part of it asking for court-martial and discharged data. the army was not able to tell me within a week's notice other than honorable discharges it had issued over the past year. the other data fluctuated day-to-day. this is the kind of stuff when i was a committee council a few
years ago you could get in 24 hours. i hope you get on top of that. i don't think people are so buzzy that they can't keep that kind of data and certainly the size of the military and the retention rate, the size of the military is lore, retention rates are higher. this shouldn't be difficult data to keep. one of the pieces of data that jumped out at me goes to the number of general flagged officers service by service. i use this as a starting point where we were looking at an issue of whether the air force should be able to keep seven -- i believe it's seven -- six flagged officers as jacks. -- jags. i'll give these numbers. the army has 540,000 people as of active duty. the navy 202,000. the air force 332,000. does that -- do you find it
curious that the air force has more four star generals than any other services? >> i'm not sure how to answer that question, senator. that actually -- >> let me give you a couple more data points. >> that does surprise me. >> the air force has 323,000. this isn't a knock on the air force. i see your assistant's getting nervous over there. it's a question of, how you properly manage the force. the air force has more brigadier generals than any of the other services by far. they have the same number of three stars. they have almost the same number of two stars as the army and well more -- more than the navy and marine corp. combined. this is not a a hit on the air force. it's just a question of how do you come up with this? >> now, your point's a good one, senator. we do need to -- by the way, secretary gate did take a look at general officer strength and
required each service i think our number for the number was we had to eliminate nine go billets. that's not the last we'll see of that. not by way of justifying it. i'll tell you how some of this has group up. you talked about iraq and afghanistan. when we build up new headquarters they tend to be magnets for flag officers to run particular capabilities and functions within these headquarters. but if you're suggesting we should see ourselves and determine if we've got our ratios right, i take the point. >> i absolutely think you should. the other piece of it is when floor structure is reduced it's very hard to give up flag commands or billets. i hope you take a look at it. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, senator webb. senator wicker. >> thank you very much. i appreciate your service general dempsey, and look forward to working with you. one of secretary gates' final actions as secretary before his
retirement was a very important speech before nato about nato's future back in june. i want to point out some of the most important facts that he mentioned. for one thing some members are willing to do the soft tasks and others the hard combat missions. he also said there is a very real possibility of collective military irrelevance in light of this member nations must examine new approaches to boosting combat cape i believities. -- capabilities. he went on to point out that two decades after the fall of the
berlin wall, the united states' share of nato defense spending has risen to more than 75%. and then he sort of concluded with this very key point, i will quote him directly, indeed if current trends in the decline of european defense capabilities are not halted or reversed, future u.s. political leaders those for whom the cold war was not the formative experience that it was for me may not consider the return on america's investment in nato worth the cost. now, it's often valuable for someone to be able to speak very frankly toward the end of a career. and i think secretary gates did just that. you're about to embark on a new ab aspect of your career.
in which perhaps you have to be a little more diplomatic and careful. i would appreciate you responding to the points secretary gates made. and -- and, i wonder if you have any new ideas about reversing this continued trend, and if you have any suggestions to this committee or this congress as to what we might do to reverse this trend? >> i'll take your caution about trying to figure out whether i'm at the beginning of the next four years or the end of my career. >> i'm assuming you're about to embark on a very important part -- >> what you can count on senator, is that i'll answer and let the chips fall where they fall in that regard. i think that -- we have some competing narratives that we should acknowledge. on the one hand we have a narrative that says we have to based on the reality of a new fiscal environment we have to do less. and therefore rely on allies to
do more. that is one narrative. we have to acknowledge it. then we have the other narrative that you just described which is they're not doing enough to sustain what they're doing now. so the question is as we go forward in determining our whatever adaptations we make to or strategies we've got to do nit a way that be doesn't paper over potential problems. one of the problems we could paper over is what can our allies provide. in terms of new ideas, we've talked about ourselves as a joint force of being interdependent for years. how do we rely on each other and eliminate redundancies. this budget reality is going to cause us to look at that again. i think it should cause us to look again at that issue vis-a-vis our allies and it may be that we would enter into a discourse with our allies about capabilities that they provide that we may not provide and in
so doing we actually may have to become dependent on them for that. now, i'm not advocating that. i'm not even advancing it, yet, but it may be that if there's a new idea out there in a new fiscal environment it may be something to do with establishing an interdependent relationship with close allies. is there risk there? absolutely. is there potential opportunity there? i think so, but in answer to your question, i think that's where we find ourselves today. >> let's take leisure let's take that down then to a specific -- the specific instance and the frustration that many of us felt in coming to a consensus over there. do we risk our adversaries or our competitors finding ways to
end states that are acceptable and achievable to all members. that's the nature of an organization that size that's built on consensus. on the other hand, when you can achieve consensus with an organization like nato, it's pretty powerful and pretty compelling and pretty persuasive. i just think as we go forward, as i mentioned, we have to be clear-eyed about not making assumptions that could, from their very inception, prove
inaccurate. i think it's going to require a different kind of transparency. >> well, i wish you very much success in that regard, and i hope if you have further suggestions for this congress, you'll work with us on that. because i share secretary gates' concern, and i don't know when the tipping point might be. but we do have budget concerns in this country, and we're bumping up against within a week. and for the united states to expend 75% of the combat funds, it seems to me a situation that's got to change. let me ask you a very specific question about the culture that services nurture with young officers and ncos with regard to foreign language study and programs that enhance global
awareness. do you have any ideas about how we might do a better job of incentivizing across the services? my son happens to be in the united states air force with a language proficieficiencproffic. do wung -- you think we're using the universities and great resources of our country enough? is there a different way that we can be achieving a larger cultural awareness in language profficiency across the services? >> i absolutely do, senator, and i think to the extent we can develop our young leaders to have the kind of global awareness, even if it is manifested in particular regional expertise, whether it's asia or wherever, i think we
will do two things. one, we will make ourselves far better prepared for an uncertain future. we found ourselves short in cultural awareness and language capability in iraq and afghanistan for a very long time. so i think that as we now have the time to commit to the kind of things you're talking about, we should. that is absolutely -- i would describe it as one of the adaptations we need to make to our leader development programs. and another thing to do, in so doing, we'll keep these kids interested. they want to know what it is we need them to do, and it's not just about turning wrenches or providing lethal effects. they want to know that they are developing, that they are growing, and that that development and growth is valued inside the service. and the last point i'll make is, i don't think -- i think we're going to be able to do exactly what you say. the reason we haven't in the last ten years is we've been meeting ourselves coming and going. we've been extraordinarily busy,
and so we haven't taken the time necessary, and particular in expertise outside iraq and afghanistan. and secondly, our promotion boards, for example, in wartime always tend to value most the current fight. and so i can only speak for the army, but if you look at our promotion boards, they have tended to reward time in the saddle in iraq and afghanistan disproportionate to potentially what we need for the deeper future. and my commitment to you is that if confirmed, i will be not only the chairman, but i will believe myself to be the steward of our profession, that is, the profession of arms for all services and look duty fully and carefully at how we're developing our leaders for the future. >> thank you, sir. tell us what you need and we'll try to provide it for you. thank you. >> thank you very much, senator wicker.
senator udall? >> thank you, mr. chairman. good morning, general, good morning, dean. it's been a pleasure to get to know the two of you and realize your love of colorado, and i look forward to working with you when you are confirmed. i had a chance to ride in yesterday from the airport with former senator harp. he's well known for his strategic thinking along with a lot of other retired senators in both parties and, of course, retired military officers. what have you learned about the last ten years? what do you think are the most important lessons that stare us in the face and some that aren't so obvious? because it is easy to fight the last war, and yet the world is undergoing enormous change from
the middle east to the events we see in china and on and on. but if you'd share a couple thoughts. >> thank you, senator. again, these are very personal lessons not to be interpreted as criticism of predecessors or anything else, because, by the way, in some cases i was the one who fumbled a ball here and there. i think that one of the lessons of the last ten years of war ought to be that we can't look at issues through a soda straw. in isolation, they don't exist that way. so i would -- looking back on it, at least my own personal view about iraq in 2003 was that iraq had a particular problem, and it was a regime that was destabilizing the region and that we should take action. it was my recommendation that we should take action to change the dynamic inside of iraq, and that the region itself would become more stable.
i'm not sure it turned out that way. it is, but it didn't happen exactly as we intended it, and that's because i don't think we understood -- let me put it differently. i didn't understand the dynamic inside that country particularly with regard to the various sects of islam that fundamentally on occasion compete with each other for dominance in islam, so the suni sect of islam, when we took the lid off it, i think we learned some things -- i don't think we could learn it any other way, i don't know, i reflect on that, but i learned that issues don't exist in isolation. they're always complex, and i've been scarred by rereading a quote from einstein who said if you have an hour to save the world, spend 55 minutes of it understanding the problem and five minutes of it trying to solve it. and i think sometimes in
particular, as a military culture, we don't have that ratio rate. we tend to spend 55 minutes trying to learn how to solve the problem and five minutes understanding it. that's one of the big lessons for me in developing leaders for the future, not only in the army, but if confirmed, in the joint force. the other is to the degree in which military officers in particular, but probably all of them, have been decentralized. you'll hear it called various things. decentralized, distributing operations, em powering the edge. whatever we call it, we have pushed enormous capability, responsibility and authority to the edge, to captains and sergeants of all services. yet our leader development paradigms really haven't changed that much. they are beginning to change, but i think that second lesson on the enormous responsibility we put on our subordinate's shoulders has to be followed with a change in the way we prepare them to accept that
responsibility. i think those would be the biggest two lessons for me. >> thank you for sharing. i look forward to learning more of your insights. you're right, we expect the people on the front lines to be educators, to be diplomats, where civil affairs and cultural, historical trends and on and on and on and every single soldier, marine and sailor represent the face of america. i look forward to working with you in what i see as an opportunity. let me turn to a related, distributable con at the present time of energy. i think everybody is looking at how we use energy more efficiently. we know that a good quarter of our casualties have been tied to fuel convoy s and other kinds o convoys. how do we help you develop a
distraction? we have more flight with less fuel. share your thoughts on energy with the committee. >> first of all, i agree with you, senator, and we have -- and again, i'm at a bit of a disadvantage in this regard speaking just about the army now, but that's what i've been working. as you know, we've got some energy goals that both the department of defense have established but that we've established for ourselves as well in the two broad areas of kind of institutional energy. that's how we manage our post camps and stations. we've got six, maybe more, prototype installations that we want to achieve a net zero energy status. one of them happens to be in your state. so we're moving along to try to see how we can improve our standing vis-a-vis institutional energy. the other one is operational energy. that's really the one you're speaking to most clearly with how do we keep soldiers off the road and supply convoys, because
we've become more energy efficient. and every one of our recent acquisitions and certainly every one going forward for vehicles or other equipment that have an energy demand are always done with a key systems attribute is the term. so every ground vehicle has an energy target for its design. that's sort of the upper end of it. the lower end of it is batteries. i'll give you one vinette that might fas -- fascinate you. it could be a streaming video, a set of optics, a night device. we see the benefit of the soldier and it makes them more capable. but we often don't see what it does in the aggregate to their
ability to carry the batteries. so an infantry platoon today, for a 72-hour mission, has to carry 400 pounds of batteries. now, what they do, of course, they don't carry them. you can follow them in some cases like bread crumbs through the hindu kush. we've got to get better at that and figure out how do you carry them in a lighter load and a more efficient manner so the soldier becomes more capable and we don't overburden them. i can assure you we are actively pursuing this, and i think it has implications across the joint force as well. >> i agree, and when we find some of these breakthrough applications for batteries, there will also be utility in the civilian sector as well, and i predict the military will lead us more broadly to energy self-reliance. my time has expired. i think you're aware of a few
marine corps ex-fobs that are being utilized, and in the end they're actually creating an environment that's much more experimental, they're more secure, they have a smaller footprint, noisewise, lightwise, energywise, and therefore the mission is more easily performed. so i look forward to working with you on this. thank you. >> thank you, senator udall. senator brown? >> thank you, mr. chairman. sir, as you know, we've already met and discussed in private. ive a few follow-up questions. senator nato and i have actually planned a bill and are concerned about the evidence that taxpayers' money that was intended to be used for a transportation contract has ended up in the hands of the taliban. we want it to stop. not only are we trying to fund our own needs, i guess we're funding the taliban's needs, too. i was wondering if you could comment on that and how -- what
your thoughts are about lowering the risk involved with our reliance on contractor support and the money trail that goes along with it. >> yeah, thanks, senator. i saw the same report in the media. i haven't yet had time to get the gi report and see the details. i share that thought. having approximately $5 billion a year to build the iraqi security forces, it was among my gravest concerns. i had a concern about building them, i had a concern about enabling them, integrating them with our forces, but there wasn't a day went by that i didn't worry about where the money was going because it's a very opaque culture in which we deal in iraq and afghanistan. now, what we've done, we've
increased the number of contractors. we formed contract in demand. i'm speaking for the army but i know the other services are doing this as well. in the captain's career courses, they're taught contract oversight. i probably should have mentioned in response to the form of a question, what are one of the big lessons of last ten years of war? one of the big lessons of the last ten years of war is when we apply these kinds of resources, we have to have the right kind of contract oversight. i hope what i find in the gi report is that it's a lagging indicator. in other words, it might be a couple years ago before we took the measures i just mentioned, but i don't know. but i share your concern about it. >> thank you, sir. also, i want to just touch upon and follow up with senator mccain and others. 100 billion was the initial, i'm hearing $1 trillion.
someone who is still serving, as you know, i hear things we could do probably better and more efficiently, but i'm deeply concerned that hasty across-the-board cuts will dramatically affect the safety and security of the men and women serving. and then i would echo senator mccain's general premise in that whatever you're planning on doing or whatever recommendations you're considering making, i know we're trying to reach a number, but when it comes to the safety and security of our men and women, you know, i don't think i can put a number on that. i don't think -- if we're going to commit to these wars and we're going to commit our men and women to do it, we have to give them the assets to do just that. so not really a question, but my hope is that if you're running into road blocks here, you need to adjust and adapt, and please come back to the committee so we can work with you in trying to do it differently and shift maybe the burden to other areas
of the government before we start jeopardizing the safety and security of our men and women. that being said, as you know, i am in the guard, and i do know that the guard reserves perform a function at a fraction of the cost of the money used for active army and all other services. you know, we're somewhat leveraging the skills and experience of our citizen soldiers in aman. what's your plan? is there a plan to potentially save money to shift and expand garden reserve opportunities? is that in the bailiwick? >> senator, as you know, we are closer to our reserve component, that's both the national guard and army reserves. i'm speaking for the military, but i'm sure general schwartz would echo this. we're closer to the garden reserve, and as restraints
collapse around us, how do we maintain that relationship? how do we articulate what capabilities have to be available in the active component, which capability have to be available in the garden reserve. one of the things i mentioned in response to the hpq was that i think there is an opportunity here to reconsider and adapt our relationship with the garden reserve. so that as we become smaller, which seems to me to be in evide inevitable, just give them actio options, because that's our responsibility, to provide options to meet our security needs. so that issue of future relationship of active guard and reserve will be at the forefront
of any decisions we make in responding to these budget issues. >> i would also ask if the goalposts we use to measure our objectives change, which they apparently are, and if you need a new set of requirements based on those changes before the end of the summer, i'm hopeful you'll let us know so we can obviously help in that regard as senator wicker pointed out, too. let us know what the needs are. finally, i've noticed, being on the veterans committee as well, that many of the soldiers that are coming home, and it's dramatically higher. even though many of them have higher technical skills, leadership skills and military experience, they feel disqualified for the lack of civilian military certificates. i hear it over and over again, and i'm wonder fg there ing if
system or something you would be able to do to help members transfer the military-specific skills and vocational experience and expertise to the civilian sector. nothing for today, but just something to think about, if there is a way we can have someone reach out and work that through. because when you look at how the state of israel does it, the employers actually seek out those folks because they have a higher work ethic many times, they're more experienced, and yet here, especially because of the fear of redeployment, and there's an artificial wall, i really harbor this thought. i wish you well. >> thank you, senator, and others are concerned about your transfer of veterans, and some of the reason we're having this problem is we haven't paid enough attention to our army
career and alumni program. sgrz you c >> you can talk about the army any time you want. >> we are well challenged, as well as with this committee, to determine how we can do a better job. >> senator lieberman? >> thanks, guys. just to have the opportunity to sit and listen to you, you've been really impressive today. we're lucky to have you in the service of our country. i think students of history, you know the details of reality that the military face and yes, it's common enough to say that you don't. i'm very glad the president hasn't nominated you and i'd be happy to vote to confirm you. i suppose if you say something from here to the end of the hearing that i think is overthe edge. this is a very moving picture. you used it to tell a powerful
story of trust. the story of his family back home, the trust of his unit and the trust that he has when he calls that someone is going to be there. it's the certainty, a different kind of certainty that those who wish us ill rgs that if they cross lines that we will respond. that they won't get away with it. it's not trust but it's a certainty that is kred il. in that regard, i was really surprised at your response to a committee in which you spoke about the threat posed to the u.s. by iran. you said, and i quote, with its
nuclear activities and its surrogate activities in southern iraq, there is a high potential that iran will make a serious miscalculation of u.s. resolve, end of quote. i totally agree with you. i do think in the case of southern iraq the iranians have been training and equipping shiite extremists who then go back and are responsible for the deaths of a lot of americans. that they have been making a miscalculation. in some sense, it's been based unfortunately on the fact that they haven't paid a meaningful price up until now for doing the things that they've done that have been so harmful to so many americans in uniform. so i just wanted to ask you -- i wanted to say, one, i appreciate the statement. two, i wanted to ask you to
elaborate on what you meant when you said there was a high potential that iran will make a serious miscalculation of u.s. resolve. >> thanks, senator. again, i've been out of iraq for about four years now. that doesn't mean i've lost touch with it or the leaders with whom i have remained engaged. it's their observation, in some cases supported by intelligence, but it's their observation that iran's activities in southern iraq are intend to do produce some beirut-like moment. and in so doing, send a message that they have expelled us from iraq. what i wanted to make clear in my advance policy question, my response, and as well today, is that while we've got soldiers in southern iraq, and as you know, my view is that when you put
united states military reserve, you place them someplace, it is the clearest sole verz of natural reserve. i want to make sure that's clear to everyone. >> i appreciate you, i hear you. it goes "best defense" what was said a couple weeks by ed mard mullen and edward pi naneta. the risk they're taking with the shiites, they're going back to southern iraq and killing our people. obviously, it's important once the people at the top of our military, like the three of you say iran takes it seriously or suffers consequences. and i just want to thank you for that.
i know you're a serious man, i know your word is credible. >> i want to spend a few minutes on the budget questions. important for all of us to think about. obviously we're facing a big budget crunch and everybody is asking to help get the country back into a balance. and so far as the military is concerned, this is not like the period at the end of the cold war. because we are actually still involved in combat in iraq and afghanistan where we're drawing down our troops. but the larger war with the islamist extremists who attacked us on 9/11 goes on on many different fronts in the world. i wanted to make sure i caught you right, that that's what you were intending to say, that this is a tough time to cut the military budget drastically
because we are at war. >> that is my professional judgment, senator, and if i could share my anxieties with you? >> sure. lay down on the couch. >> this is a three-legged stool. on the one hand, it is the responsibility of the military to provide capability options. in other words, we have to have a certain quality and a certain quantity because of the rotational requirement to sustain our effort. so that's one leg of the stool, if you'll permit me. the other leg of the stool, though, is if we don't demonstrate that we are sensitive to the challenges of the broader nation -- we're all citizens as well as soldiers. >> right. >> if we don't show that we recognize the nation has a significant economic problem and then do our part, whatever that
part may be to help stop it, we will be seen as simply putting up barriers and defending ourselves against what eisenhower famously called, you know, the military industrial complex. that's the second leg of the stool. the third leg of the stool is we've got an all-volunteer force with whom we must keep faith. it is that element of trust that i described earlier that will keep that all-volunteer force in the fight, inspired, serving our country over time. >> as we go forward, kind of the way i will assess how much of a budget reduction we can absorb will be on the basis of that. how many capability does it provide? are we contributing something so we remain connected to america and can we produce the all-volunteer force? on that basis, i think we'll be able to make a pretty clear determination. >> i appreciate that. that's a very balanced answer,
and i think you've got youfr anxieties well in control. and i would certify to your mental health. but thanks very much. good luck. >> thank you very much, senator lieberman. senator aya. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i very much want to thank you, general dempsey, and deany for your service, and appreciate you coming before the committee today. i wanted to echo on the question that senator brown had asked you about the garden reserve, your role in the forwarden reserve. we've all seen has been the case that, really, we haven't used the reserve as a true reserve. the contents we use as a real source. there was a need to do it but there's also a immediate to
cost-effectively use the guard. as we go forward in this difficult economic climate, how do you anticipate preserving that readiness that we have gotten as a result of having the garden reservuard and reserve, you intend to work with the guard and reserve going forward? >> we are working very closely with the guard and reserve. if there's something we're holding from them, it's not apparent to me. it goes back to the trust that has to exist in the army and the other services as well with their reserve components. i would like to just elaborate a bit on what you said about the cost effectiveness, because there is a certain cost effectiveness to the guard and reserve, but truthfully, that's not why we have them. why we have them is because -- i mean, we've had them for
centuries, but after vietnam, general crayton abrams said we would never allow ourselves to go to war without the reserves. he did that, because as he transitioned to an all-volunteer force, that was our way of staying in contact with america. so as we sit here today, the kbe is not will we have the participation of the guard and reserve, the reality is we cannot go -- cannot in place -- go without the guard and reserves. two-thirds of our sustainment capability is if the garden reserve and only a third of it, and we built it consciously that way so we would never again go to work. so as we go forward with these
budget issues, it's not about, are we going to make a stark position on one or another? >> that would include readiness in the duty as well as a military reserve? >> yes, ma'am. again, not to be completely transparent here, we have built some expectations on the back of oco, for example. on the level of readiness we can have in all components. we've really never had an army that was 100% ready to go all the time t. that was already considered a -- a training and every aspect for all components. all of that will be affected to some degree as we lose the ability to apply oko to our.
but it will be applied equally and fairly. >> thank you. i appreciate your comments about how important the guard and reserve is to our readiness and our country in national security. i also want to ask you, as chairman of the chiefs of staff, a very important role you have in providing the president and others with. one thing i'm concerned with is our detention policy, our interrogation policy, and during a june 28 hearing, i asked admiral mckraifen ten years into the rer ror and not had one. for group groups like al-qaeda and the arabian peninsula.
i wanted to find out from you it seems to me we've had to make some add hoch decisions and that puts our military in a difficult position. >> it could be, senator. i'm not being elusive, i'm understanding where i am about the issues. i think what we have in our detention of them rises more to the level of evidence simply in terms of intelligence, because there is a huge difference when you talk about the rule of law with what's based on intelligence, with what's based on evidence. i think we have to understand how agile we need to be and will personal issues. the other role i play is reas i had vichl.
when we have these individuals in custody, return them back to their fight. i haven't been involved with it, i haven't studied it to the extent i need to to engage you azh as articulately as i should, but i will. >> i wanted to highlight where al-qaeda and leader of al shabob was kept on a ship for three months. basically, we're making do, and i don't think making do is good enough, particularly when we're not going to be able to keep every single individual on a shift. so i would hope that you would look at this as a very important security issue. as you mentioned, the reas i had
vichl rate. you wanted to ask you, my time is almost up, but just about a particular case to ask you almost, who is someone that myself and eight senators, many serve on this question. he served in iraq and is also accused of collaborating with. we were going to. we got a letter saying that americans would release back to the iraqis. we're concerned that releasing thim is like releasing him back to the theatre. so this is another case i would ask you to be careful at, because it's one that demonstrates again why we need a detention facility that ensures
the security of these individuals so that they don't just go back to other countries that will just release them and then we'll be fighting them again. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, general. >> thank you, senator ayotte. senator mansion? >> thank you, general, very much for your kind hospitality and we appreciated it very much yesterday, your stopping by unannounced and you're very kind. i would concur with senator lieberman that you're a sound person, and i think things will be very well. i'd like to ask two questions. one is on following up on senator ayotte. she had asked about the guard, and i know there's been discussions and concerns. would the guard ever have joint chiefs of staff or would it be equal footing on that? i know you've been reseptember acti -- receptive in thinking about
that and whether it's a possibility. >> i have been open on that, but also concern. one concern is i just finished, rather in elegantly, perhaps, describing how close we are -- i'm speaking again for the army, but -- >> with a need for the guard. >> and i don't know what that would do for the relationship if we have two or three stars over one force. one is more pragmatic. and that is, what gives me more authority for the chief, they would pay the budget. they would pay attention to me because i to use the resources that i'm given, so i'm held accountable for delivering it. i don't know what this means. they derive their ability from the title but also that they manage the city's budget.
if we had a national four-star on the joint chiefss. they have nothing to deliver capability, so i would have to sort that out. the other is concerning financial responsibility, and i think senator brown touched on the 10 million a day that was reported leaving kabul and the suitcases, which is about 3.6 billion a year, and not able to have a handle on that. i think you've been hearing about our debt discussions we've had. both democrats and republicans have anticipated another trillion dollars in savings. if it's not spent on the war, another billion dollars you'll spend in savings. someone anticipated we were going to spend that much and now they're taking it as a savings.
can you give me your thoughts on that? does it make sense to you at all that we would be saving something we shouldn't have been spend and spending and now they're all counting and booking it? >> senator, if you would allow me, i would take personal pleasure in telling you i'm not an economist nor a lawyer, so i can't go anywhere near that question. but i will say that we have done a great deal of work to try to figure out how to get on top of this issue of spending. the corruption that's going on as we go to afghanistan, and i think you know my personal feelings, that we should get out as quickly as we can, it's not going to fwet bettget better. they'll steal anything they can as they already have.
how we stop this blatant thievery. i sent the brigadier general over to stand up an anti-corruption task force and campaign. it's made some progress. in fact, i ought to have him come back and chat with you about what he's accomplished. i wouldn't suggest that anyone would drive corruption in that part to zero but we certainly can get closer to zero. >> you and i talked about contracting that goes along with the defense department and a lot of fraud abuse and waste there, and i think you showed a desire that you wanted to look into that in a much more critical way. also i would say also in the flight services, i know that we're contracting all of our flight services out to take our goods into that area, and with that, with nato also, has there been any types of decisions or
discussions on how we could best curtail that or use our own equipment, or are we just too strapped for that? >> i don't know the specifics, sir. i would simply say that i think we have to keep a contracting option open. we would, very quickly and very clearly, overwhelm our ability to transport the things that we need, ground or air, with our own organic resources. so i think the issue is really not walking away from contractor support, i think it's getting it under control. >> and i truly believe that on the draft what your opinions may be or if you have a position, but just your thoughts on the draft. of course, those of us sitting on this side thinking vietnam, the draft brought that skirmish to an end, and i'm assuming if
we had the draft today we would take a much more critical look at what we're doing there than we perceive now. so your thoughts on the draft. >> this comes up from time to time throughout my career, and that would very clearly be a political decision to go back to a system of universal suffrage. what i would offer you at this point in a discussion would be that i think the nation is better served by an all-volunteer source, and i could elaborate on why i bloelie that. but i think we would be better served by an all-volunteer source and would seek ways to conserve it rather than move this way to a draft. >> my reasoning for that question was because of all the deployments that the people or families are basically going through. it's a tremendous hardship, i know, to them and their families, especially in the guard back home to our small states that have a great
dependency on the guard. with that happening and the pressure that's put upon them and now with three wars going on, there comes a time when we spread ourselves so thin that the draft is the only option that i think we would have if that's the policy we continue down, unless we intervene and stop these senseless wars. >> without commenting on the wars, because sometimes i think, senator, wars choose you, you don't choose them. that's just a professional judgment, but i think that as we look at the lessons in the last ten years of war, i think we'll find the all-volunteer force actually perform better and more resiliently than its crafters thought it would back in the early '70s. but i think we need other options for the nation when we enter into conflict that can escalate and it can take longer than we thought. >> thank you, sir. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you very much, general. thank you for your willingness
to continue to serve us at this l level, and again, i look forward to approving you and look forward to your service. i want to say thank you. i'm going to actually do one quick thing on afghanistan to follow up on senator mansion. tell me from your perspective in regards to the security forces where we and our allies are working to train and ensure they have their own security force. the question i have, i know they are growing them, but what is their retention rate of those folks that once trained by us and doing the service for security at different levels. what's the retention rate they're able to maintain, and at the same time, are they increasing their literacy rate? because i know we were very successful in iraq because the literacy rate was also very high. here it's very low. so could you comment on both those elements, retention and
their literacy rate. >> i can, sir. retention has shifted over time for two reasons. one is in the early days, we were paying them at a rate that i think was probably too low to keep them. that was changed probably two years ago. and the other factor is seasonal. we have to remember these young men in afghanistan, and to a lesser extent in iraq, but in afghanistan, they're agrarian, so when the planting and harvesting seasons come and go, the attrition rates wax and wane accordingly. the general in charge of our iranian training monitors the situation. i don't have the number, but
it's in the number of 10,000 and growing in the literacy rate, the soldiers we've accrued learning english. you can develop it, and it's a little more challenging to develop the leaders to lead them. >> if you could get to my office maybe kind of what you see those trend lines look like over the last several years and where we're going in literacy atta attainment within our security force that afghanistan has, as well as the retention rate? can you do that? >> yes. the last time i touched them, the trend line on attrition was testing positive, which means we were gaining control of it. the trend line on literacy training was also training positive, but it's a very -- you know, that is a -- an enormous
slope to climb for all the reasons you suggested. but both trends are positive. >> if you could share that with me. i know the military does this, they always have a contingency plan about everything. plan, a, b, c, all the way to z. i'm assuming somewhere, and maybe it's not within d.o.d., but maybe it's a combo between d.o.d., state and other. assume the scenario we're out of afghanistan. there is a financial cost that we're going to be committed to at some point. i mean, for all the reasons, their economy can't sustain the security forces that we're training for and everyone else is training for. they don't have the money. so is there someone within d.o.d., state department or combo or one of the agencies that has looked at scenario acts that, out of afghanistan, here
is the u.s. commitment financially? >> yes, and i would add nato. it's very clear that as we reach 2014, as you suggested, there will be a challenge with afghanistan, and we will have to assist -- i say we meaning not just the united states -- >> but we'll have a commitment of some kind. >> i believe we will, yes, sir. >> do you know if that's something available to review with the costs, or is that something you can get to me to determine where i need to direct that question? >> let me contact the sen com commander that oversees that effort. i'll see if i can put him in touch with you or he can communicate through me. >> that would be great, thanks. obviously, we care greatly about
the expanse system, and they're working to finish up the missile defense system. can you tell me about the missile defense system in alaska and also north korea but has reached the east coast, very last second, last minute kind of iran issue. so, one, your thoughts on g.o.d. for alaska, but is there a need for a comprehensive system on the east coast? more robust in dealing with iran? if you could answer those two pieces of the question. >> yes, sir, the current strategy calls for republlicati what you would describe as air
missile on the coast. there is also some -- i'll describe them as very early nation discussions with russia about sharing early warning and things. it could be very, very positive. so i think this work is ongoing and important and i'll give it my first interest. >> and the situation in alaska -- you see where i'm going with this? >> yes. >> let me move to another subject, some members here last week from the d.o.d. was asking the same question. we're one of the few countries that haven't signed on to this treaty. we're hanging on with syria and iran and libya. those were people that were in company who haven't signed also, which is not the company i care to keep and i'm sure you don't care to keep, either. so can you tell me just your thoughts from a military
perspective on sovereignty? the complaint people have is this gives up our sovereignty if we sign this treaty? i disagree with that, i think it strengthens our sovereignty. can you give me your thoughts on that? >> yes, i support the other leaders who have testified that it will improve our sovereignty and security if we enter it. >> i have one more thing i'll enter for the record. in this very tight budget, it's a big challenge. we dealt with some cuts that had to be dealt with, but how we balance this with personnel and ensuring that we have a robust system and making sure the benefits are there, at the same time how do we balance with some of the infrastructure. i have a more detailed question that i'll submit for the record, but that's the gist of my question, how will you manage that to make sure we have the
fighting men and women that we need but at the same time deal with some severe budget constraints. so i'll just submit that for the record, if that's okay. >> okay, senator. thanks. >> thank you very much. good luck. >> senator graham? >> thank you, mr. chairman. congratulations on your nomination. i know you'll do a good job, and your family is proud, and this is a special time in your life. but iraq. there are increasing reports coming from iraq that iran is introducing weapons into iraq and to shiite hands, iups and more rockets. is that generally true? >> i've heard both general austin and others state that they have intelligence that suggests that is true, yes, senator. >> and the argument is that they're trying to claim they drove us out of iraq, the iranians. do you generally agree with that assessment? >> i obviously can't speak for their motivations, but i will say that my contact with my
colleag colleagues, many of them believe that's the case. >> what is your message to iran, general dempsey? >> it would be a gross miscalculation to believe we will simply allow that to occur without taking serious consideration or reacting to it. >> i think that is a very sound position, and i doubt it rain ya -- if the iranians are watching, but they should be listening because i think it would be a gross miscalculation on their part to believe you can kill americans and nothing comes their way. if iraq requested additional troops to remain in 2012 in iraq, do you think it would be wise for us to agree to that request? >> i do, senator. >> and i think there's plans in the works to try to come up with a formulation?
somewhere around 10,000; is that correct? >> i don't know the number, senator, but it would be a number where we could provide the capability that they would request that we would be able to protect ourselves, and it would have to meet both of our nation's mutual interests. >> right. one, they would have to ask. one of the concerns, the forces we have along the kurdish-arab fault lines, there has been no fighting but there's been skirmishes. i guess you would you want to have some sort of referee along those lines; is that correct? >> i have heard discussion of that being one of the capabilities we could provide if asked. >> let's move to afghanistan. there is a lot of talk about 2014. my view is that the drawdown of all surge forces by september 2012 is rigged in the debate of
america leaving and the enemy is seizing upon that drawdown schedule. one thing we could do in my view to kind of set that debate is to enter into a relationship with the afghans if they request it post 2014. several months ago, i asked secretary gates about his view as to whether or not he believes it would be wise to have an enduring military economic and political relationship with iran if they requested such a relationship past 2014. and what he said regarding a security agreement, he said a security agreement with afghanistan that provided for a continuing relationship in some kind of joint facilities and so on for training and counterterrorism and so on beyond 2014 i think would be very much in our interest. i think it would serve as a barrier to iranian influence coming from the west, i think it would serve as a barrier to reconstitution of the taliban and others coming from the
border areas of pakistan, so i think it would be a stabilizing effect not just in afghanistan but in the region. do you agree with that? >> i do, senator. >> and as i understand, there is some ongoing negotiations between the afghans and our government to have a stabilizing, enduring joint relationship on the military side past 2014; is that correct? >> i read that in the open press, senator. i have not been brought into that dialogue, but i've read the same reports you have. >> but as a senior military adviser to the president, if you get this job, you would recommend we go down that road to send the right signal to the afghans and the region; is that correct? >> i would, senator, and that's without putting any assumptions about how long or how big, but i think that simply the thought that we would have an enduring relationship could send the right signal. >> let's look at this photo again, this photo of this non-commissioned officer basically calling for assista e
assistance. it's called "trust" and i think it's a great photo. one of the things i worry about is that allies of the united states, partners of the united states, need to trust us. do you agree with that? >> absolutely. >> so a lot of people in afghanistan and iraq have taken on radical islamic extremists, and they've paid a heavy price. is that true? >> they have, senator. >> the afghanistan and iraqi people have paid a very heavy price fighting for their freedom. so what i'm trying to impress on people back home, at noon i'm going to get asked about why would you invest money in the schoolhouse and afghanistan when we need improvements in our schools in south carolina? how would answer that question? >> i would probably say that it's important to remember that we went to afghanistan for our national interests, not theirs. and there is a residual requirement for that, for how long as we deem our ability to
do so, but this isn't about doing things just for them. in some way it's about doing things for us. >> one way to defeat radical islam is to providen -- provide an education to young women and men to stabilize. do you believe in that? >> i do believe in that. >> it may be more security in the united states than a brigade in afghanistan. >> it may very well be. >> killing and i congratulate t president and cia and all those who stayed on the case. but i have a theory that killing terrorists only takes you so far when it comes to security. the ultimate security is partnerships, partnerships in the region who if they had the capability to marry up with their will, they would fight back against with these radical elements. i know it's more labor
intensive, costs more money, but i believe the payoff is greater. what is your view of our nation's security being enhanced by having countries like iraq and afghanistan becoming stable representative in nature and generally aligned with us and rejecting radical islam? would that be a transformational event on the war on terror more than killing bin laden? >> i think it would have benefits beyond more than just the war on terror. i'm an advocate on building global relationships, both to promote our values, to have partners who can help us when we encounter an uncertain future. i just think that we are better and we're better army when we are out and about and interacting with our peers. >> thank you, senator graham. senator collins? >> thank you, mr. chairman.
general, first congratulations, and i thank you for your many years of service. and what was apparently one of the briefest tenures as the army chief of staff in history, i think. let me ask you a series of questions. the president's budget proposes that we move to a smaller army and marine corps. and in response to questions for the record, you indicated agreement with the reductions in end strength that are included in the president's long-range budget. my concern is that we have heard repeatedly from military officials and mental health experts that a dwell time of two years at home for every one year
deployed is the minimum time necessary to preserve the long-term mental and physical health of our forces. and certainly, the army and the marine corps have borne the brunt of the two wars in which we are now engaged. if we're not counting libya, as well. what will be the impact of your view of reducing the end strength on our ability to meet those dwell time goals? >> well, senator, that's actually my responsibility as a service chief with my fellow service chiefs and the current chairman is to take the budget charts we've been given and determine how we provide capabilities, how much modernization, training,
maintenance, and readiness at -- this is your point -- at a rate which we can sustain the all-volunteer force. and for the army, it is a one-year deployed to two-year home bog dwell ratio. some of it is art and some of it is science. the science of it is to apply the force you can afford and see if you can sustain it. and we're running those models and that analysis right now. >> i hope that you will keep a very close watch on this. i think it's absolutely critical. and i understand we're drawing down our troops in afghanistan and iraq. but i'm very concerned about the strain and pressure of repeated deployments. and this strikes me as the wrong time to be reducing the size of our force. and so i think we need to watch that very carefully. let me turn to an issue that
senator webb raised with you. and that is sea power. the fact is that our navy currently has the fewest numbers of ships since before world war i. now, our ships are clearly more capable than they used to be. but as an admiral once told me, quantity has a quality of its own. and you do need to have a sufficient number of ships. i'm concerned by what we see in china with an enormous build-up by the chinese of their fleet. i'm concerned by a february of this year report by the navy on surface ship readiness that found that 60% of the fleet is underway at any given time.
43% is forward deployed. those figures represent historic high percentages. our national security demands are growing. the ships are now going to be playing a very important role in ballistic missile defense. and the fact is, that we have a gap between the 285-ship navy that we currently have, and the 313 ship navy that the cno has described repeatedly as the floor, as the absolute minimum. so first question, do you support the navy's goal of increasing the number of ships that we have to 313? >> against the current strategy, senator, i do. i would only caveat it by saying that as we do this analysis of
resources, we may have to actually change our strategy. we may reach a point where we say as joint chiefs, we cannot achieve the strategy. here's the recommendations we make on changing our strategy. whether it's forward presence, whether it's allocating resources, or not to building partner capacity. in other words, your point hits exactly at the challenge i face, we face, which is we have a strategy, and we have the means to execute it today. the means will change. we'll make some adaptions on how we do things, but at some point we'll make a point where we have to recommend to the president that we have to adapt or revise our strategy. we're not there. so in answer to your question right now, i absolutely do agree with the navy's ship-building program. i'm aware how it supports their
air/sea/battle concept. i'm aware what it does with anti-access denial activities. it's the right strategy with the right resources for today. and if the strategy changes, then i'll change my opinion about it. >> my concern is that the budget is at risk of driving the security -- the strategy rather than the other way around. the way we should be doing this is determining our military requirements and have that dictate our resources, not the other way around. there's certainly a savings to be achieved. i'm going to submit a couple of questions for the record on overseas basis, military construction, overseas on some procurements that our homeland security committee has looked at that has to do with the enterprise resource programs,
which are now sole source contracts and have enormous cost overruns. but let me just use my remaining seconds to bring up a report that senator liberman and i produced through our homeland security committee. and it was on whether or not the ft. hood shootings could have been prevented. i want to make sure to bring that report to your attention because while we found that there was very poor communication between the fbi and the army, we also found that the army had sufficient evidence on its own of major hasan's increasing radicalization. we found that there was a flawed personnel evaluation process that was very troubling. because not only was his
radicalization evident, but the fact is, he wasn't a good doctor. and yet, many times he received outstanding ratings. one of his supervisors actually told the people at ft. hood, you're getting -- and yet that physician had an outstanding rating. so i would ask you to take a look at the rating process throughout the department of defense. i think that's absolutely critical. >> we actually are in the process of taking those lessons learned and adapting policies. but i will continue to work -- you have my commitment for that. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, senator collins. senator hagan. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and general demsy, i want to welcome
you and looking forward to your confirmation and to mrs. dempsey, it's always a pleasure seeing you and i know this is definitely a team effort. >> i thank you for all your past service and sacrifice. >> recently i joined several of my colleagues in sending a letter to the secretary of defense, secretary gates regarding findings of the military leadership commission. issued a decision earlier this year. and this is
fields is the dod and service policies that prohibit women from serving in occupations involving direct. combat. the commission recommended dod and the services conduct a phased elimination exclusion policies. what do you think are the opportunities and risk for eliminating combat exclusion policies for women? >> yeah, thank you, senator. there is a dod task force, in fact, looking at what have we learned over ten years about the nature of current conflicts? and, of course, i don't have to explain this to you, you have visited. but the nature of current conflict is there's no front line and back line. so some of the rules we have in place on co-location, for example, are simply outdated and need to be revised. and we're prepared to do that as an army now. now, again tdod task force is looking both at co-location
issues, but also at the issue of changing access to particular military occupational specialties. that work should take place here in the fall. i fully support it. i think we will learn that there are additional opportunities to be made available. and my commitment to keep that on my agenda. >> thank you. and i think from the fairness standpoint, it certainly has to be on a level playing field so that we can have very talented people in the upper levels. i also wanted to ask the role of pakistan. pakistan is a key regional actor in central asia. right now our relationship with pakistan is complicated. pakistan is obviously an important player in terms of regional stability in central asia. can you describe the -- how the pressler amendment has affected our relationship with pakistan?
and how do you feel the united states needs to interact currently with pakistan and in the future? how do you feel we should use the aid as a weapon of influence based on the current relationship that we have now with pakistan? >> yeah, thank you, senator. i think pakistan is an enormously important country in the central command area of operations. in fact, when i was the acting commander, i considered it to be among probably the top one or two countries to be addressed. and we've had as you described it yourself, a very complex relationship with them. i think it's one we need to stick with. and to your point about the pressler amendment. that was a period in our history where we made a determination that we had such stark differences with pakistan, notably on the issue of nuclearization that we would cut off not only all aid, but all contact. and as a result, we have now a
generation among the pakistan military. we have a generation of officers. generally field grade majors and lieutenant colonels. who not only know nothing about us, but are somewhat antagonistic with us because they had no contact and remember a period of time when they were prohibited from having contact. i think that's a mistake. so the point would be i think as we go forward to pakistan, i think we should continue to find areas of common interest, and there are plenty of those. and i think we ought to acknowledge where we have differences, and there ought to be consequences for greater or lesser cooperation. but i think we got to stick with the relationship. >> thank you. >> i also wanted to ask a question. and about the military assistance for education. i know that the gao released a report back in martha focused on
the military transition assistance program. and my understanding is that oversight of the education programs receiving tuition assistance funds is really lacking. and the for profit schools in particular have used in some cases improper tactics to enroll troops. and i'm also told that just this week the pentagon has imposed new rules for online only schools in which our military are using the tuition assistance dollars. and this is a direct result from the findings in the gao report. and i think that's positive. but i also feel strongly that these rules need to go further. shouldn't these rules -- and we're talking about the online also apply to brick and mortar institutions so that all of the for profit institutions are held to the same standards whether they're online or not? and additionally, with all of
the fraud and abuse that we've seen, do you believe these rules should apply to all dod and va benefits and not just the tuition assistance programs? >> yeah, an interesting point you raise. we are focused at this time on online education, but it certainly seems logical we would be focused on making sure these soldiers get best value for the money whether they're in a brick and mortar schoolhouse or online. but as you know, this next generation is more likely to seek education opportunities online. that's probably why we've chosen to start the process there. i would support the idea that we should take a look at both. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, senator hagan. >> thank you, mr. chairman and, general, congratulations on your nomination, well-deserved. i believe i'm the one person standing between you and a very well-deserved break. so i will to be brief.
you've had a very distinguished career and i look forward to working with you. let me ask you a few questions i could on the fiscal side. because we find ourselves in, unfortunately, very difficult, economic, and fiscal times. the current chair of the joint chiefs has talked about this. in january he said and i'll quote the pentagon budget has doubled over the last decade and my own experience is that in doubling we've lost our ability to prioritize, to do tough decisions, to make analysis, to make trades. he also issued this quote -- the single biggest threat to our security is our debt. ask a couple quick comments. one, do you agree with him on his famous quote about the debt being our biggest national security threat.
second, do you agree with the hard decisions? >> our economic condition is the greatest threat to national security. i don't agree exactly with that. i'm very -- >> fiscal he said, not economic. >> fiscal. >> the way i would prefer to describe it is the issue is national power. we derive our national power. our influence across the globe, that is all derived from the combination of three things. you can't pick or choose. you have to be strength -- you have to have strength in the military arm, the diplomatic arm and the economic arm. so to the extent that he says our economic arm has weakened, therefore we are lesser capable across the globe, i buy that entirely. but i don't want to find myself in a position of voting that one or the other of those is more
important than the other. on the issue of to the second part about whether the pentagon has lost the ability to prioritize. yes, i think i would probably say that you develop sort of cultures over time. when times are kind of flesh with resources, the culture becomes that you just aren't forced to make those kinds of decisions. and then when the cycle returns and resources are more constrained, it requires a change in culture. so, yeah, i agree with that. >> let me dig deeper on that with one issue, which is the acquisition side of your future role and your current role as a service chief. i just left the contracting subcommittee, the ranking member on the governmental affairs where we're talking about the tough fiscal conditions we face. now we need to have government
doing more with less. and my time here in this committee and witnessing some of the challenges we have in fielding capabilities for the services in a timely way, it seems to me there's a few common themes. surely there's a lot we can do in the acquisition process. the chairman and others have been involved in that over the years. but i hear also attributed to the way the department develops requirements. i'm involved on a broader scale and looking tat joint strike where we're looking at projected cost overrun of $150 billion roughly, unbelievable. you and admiral wynnefield are going to be in the middle of all this. it seems to me the attempts to look at data and analysis and get away from some of the litany of documents and lock step is a good thing. a lot of this early on in the programs is time consuming, it's a lot of paperwork, it's a need
to meet review requirements. and the intent is certainly the right one. we need to figure out what we need before we develop it. but something's not working here. and i wondered if you could talk about this. do you think some of these efforts are significant enough? and what would you do to ensure that real change occurs? >> now, i completely agree that the status quo is unacceptable and the system itself does require reform. and as you know, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition as carter is working diligently based on some of the guidance we've received from the congress of the united states. i think there are some answers, actually. i think the service chiefs need to have -- to have a greater role throughout the process. right now we tend to have a role, but then the process is handed over to find a material solution. i think we have to partner more closely throughout the process from start to finish with industry.
and i think we -- i think we need to take a shorter time horizon on acquisitions. the way requirements creep is when we have decade-long programs which allow it to remain open, and for guys like me to keep stuffing things through. i think the answer is greater collaboration between requirements, determination, materials, solution, greater collaboration with industry earlier, and shorter time horizons as a start, but there's probably other opportunities, as well. >> i think we're going to be forced to make some of those decisions. by the way, you said ask carter is looking at some of these issues. i can't help myself, mr. chairman, say that some of the guidance i think it's fair to say from congress on the second engine is not being adhered to. and that is, we want competition. >> i had more in mind. the weapons system reform act. >> i know. i just think we've got to go to competition wherever possible,
get the costs down, and be sure it's open and fair. financial management. i want to get your thoughts on this. we recently had a debate on this on the floor of the house because the senate chose not to have so many positions be confirmed through the normal process, which is a good thing, streamlining it. and i offered an amendment and support it by many in this committee saying there's some folks in the federal government who ought to continue to go through a process because we want to give them the stature that comes with that and that included the financial manager officials in the department, including the controller. and we were successful in getting that done. and the reason we did it again was to be sure that those folks are listened to by others who are confirmed. and those who are in the civilian leadership are usually who we talk about this issue to. i would think the auditing function to ensure you have financial officers in every service who are getting the attention from the leadership is
extremely important. and i would hope that the uniform leadership would continue to play a role. in fact, i would say even a more active role. some would view those as not important. i would say in these times, it's incredibly important. the marine corps recently showed this, i think, by focusing more on financial management. they claim a $3 rate of return for every dollar spent on financial management, for instance. as one member, i will tell you, i would hope that you personally will get engaged in this issue with increasing pressure on the pentagon's budget. we're freeing up funds for critical needs by focusing on financial management. can you give me your quick thoughts on that as a service chief now? and how you intend to approach this as chairman? >> as a service chief, i absolutely concur that -- we describe them as em deps.
the long tail -- actually it's 17% of the emdeps have about 15% of the challenges. that's where we tend to focus our sights. but there's another 50% out there that total $3 million, $4 million, $5 million and we're in one of those environments where we've got to be paying attention to all of it. as you know, we're on path to become auditable by 2015. >> thank you for your willingness to step forward. >>female speaker thank you very much. senator portman? i would recommend to you relative to the issue of contracting in afghanistan a report, which was a major report of this committee in october of 2010 entitled inquiry into the role and oversight of private
security contractors in afghanistan. it was a long investigation, a detailed investigation, a very disturbing investigation about the shortfalls of our private security contractors and the regulations and the policies needed to governor their operations. so the article we saw in the paper the other day about some of the funds ending up in the hands of our enemy. was based on that investigation made references, as a matter of fact, to the investigation. but in terms of trying to put an end to some of the ways it is going on relative to contractors in afghanistan, i would recommend that very detailed report that we all worked so hard on. and i was intrigued by your comment about how much personal pleasure you take from not being a lawyer, but i will not pursue that, being a lawyer.
and since i'm interested in your rapid confirmation -- and unless there are any additional questions from senator portman, we will with thanks to you and your bride stand adjourned. and thank you, and we will seek a very rapid vote of this committee and hope for confirmation. >> thank you, senator. an hour .
>> this hearing will come to order. the process will be as follows, the vice chairman will make some remarks. we will then call on the distinguished senator from north dakota for remarks, and then we will proceed. i trust that is agreeable with everybody. the committee meets today to consider the president's nomination of matt olsen to be the director of the national counterterrorism center. mr. olsen is currently the general counsel of the national security agency, and he sold a number of senior positions in the department of justice, including the national security division and the federal bureau of investigation. mr. olsen has appeared as a witness before this committee previously and as frequently briefed members and staff over the last several years. i'd like to welcome him back to this committee to read like to
begin today by discussing the current terrorist threat and the role of what we call nctc, which mr. olsen will be leading if confirmed. the nctc is the central agency within the united states government dealing with the identification, prevention, disruption, and analysis of terrorist threats. it's very important. while it is best known for its role in consolidating and analyzing terrorism related intelligence, it also plays an important role in conducting strategic planning for counterterrorism actions across our government. the nctc grew significantly in size, capability and maturity under the previous director, michael liter. its success and those of the broader counterterrorism community include numerous terrorist plots that were
thwarted both here at home and abroad. nctc has also achieved less noticed but equally important advances in the sharing of threat information across the intelligence community. a streamlining if you will of intelligence, and improved watch listing capability and greatly improved analytical capabilities. despite the improvements in the reforms, especially in response to the findings of the recommendations of this committee and others on the christmas day attempted attack by umar farouk abdulmutallab. i am still very concerned about the possibility of terrorist attacks against the united states. i believe this is a very critical time. the period leading up to the tenth anniversary of 9/11 is a period of heightened threat. despite counterterrorism
pressure against pakistan including the successful strike against osama bin laden the growth remains dangerous and vengeful. at the same time the threat from al qaeda's affiliate's and adherents around the world has increased and presents particular challenges. i am especially concerned about the threat to the united states homeland from al qaeda in the air arabian peninsula, aqap as we cut, as well as terrorist safe havens in somalia and elsewhere. this means, at least to me, that this is a crucial time for our counterterrorism establishment to be at full strength and not to be without the leader. nctc is a linchpin of this establishment. so i treat least the president has moved quickly to nominate mr. olsen, an individual serving in a senior intelligence
community position today to take the helm of this organization. let me take just a moment to read the first paragraph from a letter of support from mr. olsen's nomination written by general keith alexander, that richter of the national security agency. this is a quote. "i am writing to wholeheartedly endorse the nomination of matthew olsen to be the next director of the nctc. matt has served as a national security agency general counsel for the past year and has shown true leadership outstanding judgment and decision making ability. he's been a key part of the agency's effort to provide intelligence that allows our government to counter terrorist threats. in my opinion, matt is superbly qualified to hold this critical
intelligence community position, end of quote. before his current position at the nsa, mr. olsen served in the department of justice for 18 years including 12 years as a federal prosecutor. in a letter of support for mr. olsen's nomination, former attorney general michael mukasey wrote of mr. olsen, and i quote, he was not only an excellent lawyer and manager, but also an exemplary person in dealing with his colleagues. matt has an abundance, every personal and professional quality and skill you could hope to find any nominee to head the nctc. his nomination has my unqualified support. and finally, there is a letter from mike mcconnell, in which he also offers his strongest possible support.
as a 44 year veteran serving the nation as a member of the intelligence community, i have many opportunities to work with professionals of the department of justice. this was particularly true when serving as the director of national security and as the director of the national intelligence. during those years of service i never met or served with a more accomplished or dedicated professional than matt olsen. he understands the icy, its process and procedure and has served with distinction to read well, i can go on and on and i have many pages here. i'm not going to do it. suffice it to say i believe that we have an extraordinarily qualified professional, which can step into the leadership of nctc, and at this very potentially balk period provided
with the leadership, it really does deserve a marriage. so, with that, mr. vice chairman, may i ask you to meet your remarks? >> thank you madame churn. mr. olsen, congratulations on being nominated to be the director of the national counterterrorism center. thank you for your service to the country especially in its demanding roles over the last several years. i also welcome your family and thank them for their great support to you and to the country. we appreciate that very much. i also want to just say a special word of thank future michael liter that you were going to be seceding. i talked about this the other day, you and i are great friends, you know the leadership he's provided in some very difficult circumstances. and while we have still had some growing pains at nctc, mike has brought us through some very tough times, and has kind of right and the ship in times it's
headed in the wrong direction and i am very appreciative of mike's leadership and service. mr. olson commodore nomination comes at a critical point in history to fight terrorism. while we have made considerable progress against al qaeda and the fata, we face growing threats as al qaeda continues to spread. in my view, aqap poses the biggest threat and i urge you to make dismantling that were pure primary focus before the strike us successfully cured at home. the past spring brought immense changes to the middle east but it remains unclear what effect this might have on our long term counterterrorism efforts. this on certainty is further complicated by our own the current fiscal condition where the resource constraints were no devotee impacting the national defence and counterterrorism enterprise. a mixed these threats it is critical to the national security that the ncbc perform its mission. you and i talked about some of the feelings leading up to the
christmas bombing attempt. especially the ncbc's an ability to connect the dots. while there has been much progress, a lot of work remains including on the information sharing and the detainee and data retention. where there's an attack on the imminent threat like 12, 25 or times square committee will often be the first point of contact with this committee. we would expect your and garnished judgments to the facts and frank assessments. in the past efforts to control the message for political purposes have resulted in the congress being given little or inaccurate information. that's not pointing a figure of this administration. it's happened in other administrations. as the nctc director, you will be expected to be forthright with this committee, and to push back on any effort to keep information from us. along these same lines, i have shared with you some of my concerns about the
recommendations made by the guantanamo review task force, which you directed. it disturbs me that under your leadership, detainees were transferred or recommended for transfer through yemen for about 2,009, even as the intelligence community warned the administration about this security situation there. we already knew that the former gitmo detainees were in the aqap leadership in yemen, but it was only after aqap's failed christmas day attack that the transfer stopped. in my mind, this was an unacceptable risk for us to take. he mentioned in my office the question on the task force in part because you were guided by the executive order on closing gitmo. i suspect that the one-year deadline for closing gitmo affected task force analysis and decisions. when the only original two options for each detainee for the prosecution or transfer, it seems like there would have been significant pressure to lean towards transfer. i wonder if this explains why,
after the initial task force review, found 92 detainee's suitable for transfer to my second review came up with 40 more transferable detainee's, and another 40 for conditional detention, which at the time was essentially delete transferred. congressman frank wolf of virginia who has expressed similar concerns about the transfer decisions in a letter to the kennedy and some of the interactions he had with you regarding the potential transfer of uighurs into the united states. i am concerned a member of congress thinks that he has been misled. so i think it would be helpful if you explain your interactions with congressman wolf, and you and i talked about this and i want to give you the full opportunity to do that this morning. i urge you to be as forthcoming and direct about this including information provided to or with the help from congress on this issue. ironically in your new position, one of your jobs will be
tracking former detainees who have read engaged, including some recommended for transfer by the task force. i urge you to take a fresh look at any intelligence on gitmo detainee's. given the threat from aqap and a recidivism rate right now over 26%, we are in no position to let any more dangerous detainee's go. unfortunately, the drive to close gitmo has had the immediate and the negative impact of leaving us with few options to detain terrorists outside of afghanistan. as we draw down in afghanistan, we will even lose that option. i'm sure you have seen noting that the united states may be killing terrorists, but we are not trying very hard to capture them. most because gitmo has been taken off the table. capturing and interrogating terrorists remains one of the best ways to get actionable intelligence and prevent future threats. again, mr. olsen, i congratulate you on your nomination, and
these issues need to be lean on the table and need to be fleshed out because the direct form of contact with this committee is going to be you in so many instances, and we need to certainly have that feeling of trust that we have developed and need to develop stronger over the coming years while you are in this position. so thank you, madam chair. >> thank you mr. vice chairman. now i would like to recognize the distinguished senator from north dakota, chairman of the budget committee and the democratic side, kent conrad. >> mr. chairman, welcome. >> thank you, chairman feinstein. thank you, vice chairman chambliss, senator coats, good to see you in senator wyden, senator udall come senator warner. i'm delighted to be to introduce matt olsen. his parents are from north dakota, people live in a very long time.
matt's roots are deep in north dakota. he returns every chance he gets with his family, his wife and his children, elderly come and meet and will come his sister, susan, is with us as well. as i said, i've known this family for a very long time coming and they are the best that it gets. his father was the chief of staff to the man the white defeated for the united states senate. and so i know how good he really is. van passed away three years ago, but i know he's looking down with a twinkle in his eye today proud of matte and all that he has accomplished. you know, after defeating the boss for the united states senate, i came here with some trepidation of what my relationship might be like with a van and his wife, the treated me with the greatest courtesy
over time the cancer indifference. the highest quality people that our state has to offer, and i believe that the highest quality of people in the country. these are the americans through and through. you're father would be so proud of you at this moment. he would be looking down and saying he has done good. and indeed, you have. users your country with a distinction the justice department, the fbi and national security agency where you are currently the general counsel. you're public service has spent three presidential administrations. that is a notable and impressive accomplishment and speaks volumes about your competency and professionalism. colleagues, matt has already accomplished so much. and now the president has asked him to assume one of the most important and demanding jobs in the intelligence community.
the director of the national counterterrorism center. we all know that the nctc's mention is vital to combat terrorism at home and abroad by analyzing the threat, sharing the information with our partners and integrating all instruments of national power to ensure unity of effort. there is no doubt in my mind that matt has the experience and the character to lead the nctc. but don't just take my word for it. admiral mike mcconnell served as the director of national intelligence and president bush's administration and director of the nsa and the clinton administration. here's what the admiral mcconnell had to say. and i quote. having known and worked with mr. olsen for over four years, i have observed him to be the utmost professional, dedicated to the security of the nation. he understands the intelligence
community in the law and the process needed to keep us safe. he has great respect for the law, our values and the activities needed to ensure the safety of the nation. i have every confidence that if confirmed, mr. olsen will serve the nation, the congress, the administration, and the intelligence community at the highest level of service and performance. colleagues, matt is smart, honest, and he is a true professional and absolute patriots. i can't put it much better than admiral mcconnell. i hope very much this committee will move quickly on his confirmation and our colleagues in the senate will follow suit. it is really my honor to be here with matt olsen. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. appreciate the remarks. i know you have a busy day.
much is happening. so feel free to stay or leave, whichever you wish. >> thank you. thank you very much. mr. olsen, we will now turn to you. part of your remarks senator conrad did this to some extent, but perhaps he would go able further and even ask them to stand up. >> thank you very much, madam chairman and vice-chairman chambliss. i want to thank ev committee for taking the time to consider my nomination this morning. i especially want to thank senator conrad for that very warm and personal introduction. i really appreciate that, and i am grateful to the many members of the committee that i've had the opportunity over the last two weeks to meet and have conversations with. i really appreciate the thoughtful consideration the committee has given to my nomination. at the outset, i want to thank the president for having the
confidence to nominate me for this position and director of national intelligence for supporting me. i am tremendously honored and humbled to be considered for this position. let me also if i may take a moment to express my condolences to the people of norway in the aftermath of the tragic attacks in oslo last week. my grandfather immigrated to north dakota from norway at the age of 16. i have extended family that lives in oslo. i think that these heartbreaking events serve as a reminder to all of us of the importance of working together in the international community to prevent these sorts of fact that terror. i appreciate very much, madam chairman of the opportunity to introduce my family. i sit here today before you because of the support of my family and my friends and my colleagues many of whom are here today. my wife is directly behind me. my children, my daughter elizabeth, my oldest son, nate,
my youngest son, will are all here with me. i especially want to acknowledge my mother, merna sitting here on the end, my father, van who is warmly remembered and senator conrad's remarks along with their love and guidance my parents, my mother and father have provided, my sister susan and jennifer, with an example of how to live like beef with honor and integrity and devotion to others and i couldn't be more grateful for them being here today. >> madam chairman and members of the committee, today as we approach the tenth anniversary of al qaeda's attacks on september 11th, it is appropriate to reflect on that day that the nation suffered the single most devastating attacks in the nation's history. it was in the aftermath of that attack on that date that the congress established the
national counterterrorism center. nctc is the primary organization and the federal government for analyzing, integrating and sharing all source intelligence information pertaining to terrorism and counterterrorism. in my view, no other organization is as singularly focused on preventing acts of terrorism. a decade after the september 11 attacks, we remain at war with al qaeda and its affiliate's triet thanks to the leaders of this committee and congress and thanks to the work of thousands of dedicated men and women in the intelligence committee including as well as our men and women in uniform across the globe, al qaeda has weakened. at the same time al qaeda and its and gerrans are around the world as well as other terrorist organizations continue to post a very significant threat to our country. confronting this threat and working with focus and resolve
to prevent a terrorist attack is nctc's mission first and foremost. to fulfill the responsibility nctc brings together the wide an array of dedicated and talented professionals, this diverse work force is in my view the greatest asset. in addition, nctc embodies the principle that we all must serve as one team to protect the nation. we must work colavita fi and use every element of the national power to bring a relentless and focused pressure against al qaeda and its adherents as well as other terrorist network some of the globe. i have been privileged to serve as a number of comments made this morning in the leadership positions ticket to the national security during my almost 20 years of a career, government service. as a general counsel of the national security agency i have guided and supported nsa
intelligence operations and has ensured that the agency's activities adhere to the constitution and the laws that govern. -- government's activities and protect liberty and privacy of americans. at the fbi, i was privileged to serve as counsel to director mueller and to a world-class intelligence organization focused on preventing and disrupting potential terrorist plots. as a career official in the department of justice to closely have this committee and in the congress of stand the new national security division of justice and manage the implementation of the landmark changes to the intelligence surveillance act the congress passed in 2008. i also supervised at the guantanamo task force bringing together the national security professionals from across the government to compile a and analyze intelligence information on detainee's. finally, i served for about ten
years in the district of columbia as a federal prosecutor. in that role i learned the value of working as a team with investigators and operators and i learned the fundamentals importance of finding and following the fact wherever they lead. if i'm honored to be confirmed to this position, i can assure you i am committed to forging a strong and cooperative relationship with congress. i believe that based on the years of experience in the career of the government official the congressional oversight is essential to nctc and the conduct of intelligence activities. members of congress and particularly of this committee were in a little perspective to the difficult issues the intelligence committee faces. the role of congress is critical to building the trust of the american people in nctc and the community. if confirmed, i commit to providing full and timely communications and transparency with the congressional oversight committees.
in ctc's mission is to protect the nation from the terrorist attack we must pursue this mission with vigilance and resolve. if confirmed, i pledge to do my very best to err in your trust and to get this effort while. adam julca of oyster, thank you very much for the honor of appearing before you. >> thank you for a much mr. olsen. i'd like the members to know we have received the strongest and the largest collection on behalf of this nominee certainly since i have been on this committee and in the deputy heads of many different agencies. so those letters along with the two letters from congressman frank wolf and the addendum to those letters will be placed in the record. housekeeping duty if i may come if you would answer the following questions yes or no please. do you agree to appear before
the committee here or in other venues when invited? >> yes. >> do you agree to send officials from the nctc and designated staff when in fight? >> yes. >> do you agree to provide documents or other materials requested by the committee in order for them to carry out its oversight and legislative responsibilities? >> yes. >> will do ensure the national counterterrorism center and its officials provide such material to the committee when request? >> yes. >> do you agree to inform and fully briefed to the fullest extent possible all members of this committee of intelligence actions and covert actions rather than only the chairman and vice-chairman? >> yes. >> thank you very much. >> mr. olsen, the ranking member brought up the questions that have been raised by a member of congress. we discussed them in our meeting and in your prepared testimony
on page five, you discuss them as well. you indicate in april of 09 you were part of a team of officials who provided a briefing about the initial stages of the process of reviewing the detainees and authorized during the briefing to discuss the review process. you are not authorized to discuss the deliberations or decisions on specific detainee's and so in accordance with those rules used eight on page five we've provided a full and candid briefing about the detainee review process. so i would like you to address this issue. you have raised the congressman will's letter and address it head on if you will for this committee. >> yes. thank you very much, madame share and vice chairman chambliss for providing me with
the opportunity to address this question raised. let me just say at the outset essentially has ali understand from congressman blair or two questions. one is that we offered information or that that information was offered in the course of the task force review and that there was intentional misleading during the briefing and i would say at the outset neither of those occurred and i appreciate the opportunity to provide additional explanations of that. first, the question of whether or not that information was changed or altered over the course of the task force review. the job i had as the executive to return of the guantanamo task force in 2009 was to bring together career professionals and compile all of the information that have benefited over the course of several years but each detainee. something that hadn't been done before, and to bring that information together in one place or give that information a
fresh independent and objective review. we've taken that information and under my leadership and under the guidelines we adopted in the innovation effort we looked at that information. it was my responsibility to ensure that was done in and in partial indian unbiased we've all the information was reviewed that was done by an approach that every dissenting board disparate opinion or view and we took that information and presented it to the group of senior level decision makers along with our recommendation and the decisions are made based on that information by the senior level group or review panel on six different agencies. the result on that over the course of the year is all 240 detainees were given a disposition and every single
case every detainee was determined on a unanimous basis on what the appropriate status was on the detainee to get there was never at any time any effort to change threat information to hide from any fact explicit guidance with my particular responsibility was to follow every fact and be as precise and specific and rigorous in analyzing those facts and presenting the information to the policy level decision makers there were occasions we looked at the facts and looked at them different than the prior prayer sessions had them. the gitmo task for said gitmo had prepared assessments. those were all part of our information and in many cases those cases i believe agreed with those assessments. but there were instances we looked at the facts and came to different conclusions but there was never on any occasion an effort to change altar or hide from those factors. those were all fully aired.
on the second question, if i may come the question of whether or not i intentionally misled congressman wolf in the briefing. again, i did not. we met in april 2009 in his office and i was part of a team from the department of justice and the white house that went to brief congressman wolf on not just the guantanamo taskforce but all three of the task forces that were set up under the three executive orders issued by president obama in january of 2009. this is the early stage of the review process. we had just begun efforts to review the set of detainees and it was made clear to congressman wolf during that briefing that the ground rule would be that we could discuss the process that we are undertaking to conduct that reach you but we were not authorized to discuss any particular decision or specific detainee's. we did in fact lee of the process for him and i understand
now he has expressed concern he wasn't given full information about the actual decision making process with the group of detainee's known as chinese uighurs at guantanamo. i did not discuss, not because i was not authorized or make a unilateral decision the department of justice officials what the status was of the decision making process. i certainly as i said to the congressman wolf in a conversation i had on the telephone a few months ago, and to stand his frustration i very much regret he has the view that i intentionally misled him coming and i do hope that if i am confirmed i would have the opportunity to regain his trust and work with him in a collaborative and cooperative we moving forward. i will say that as a general matter, i have been candid, honest and direct with my
actions of congress i've met many times with staff and members of this committee over the course of my career as a government official not only on the guantanamo review but also d amendment act and other matters and i take it as a matter of pride in the deeply held view that life and honest and candid and direct and as i said i do hope i have the opportunity to regain and work with the trust of congress and walls and work with him. >> thank you very much. mr. vice chairman? >> thanks, madame chair. mr. olsen, let me carry that question one step further because obviously it is a very, very serious issue when you have a member of congress who thinks that he has been misled so i want you to have the opportunity to explain and i want to quote to you what congressman wolf's recollection of the scenario was
in the memorandum that he prepared within the last couple of weeks. i know you had the opportunity to look at it. here is what he says. he said it has recently come to my attention that i was misled about the status of the transfer of the knees in april, to those inclined to read the information confirms the newsweek report the federal employees were explicitly directed to hide the information from the members of congress especially republican members. during an april 22nd, 2009 meeting in my office with members of the guantanamo bay detainee review task force including mr. olsen, i inquired about the status of the potential transfer of uighurs detainee's to the united states. mr. olsen indicated that the decision had not yet been reached on the transfer of the detainees. none of the other carrier or political officials in the meeting countered mr. olsen's assertion. i was deeply concerned to learn
in an april 2011 "washington post" article that the final decision on the transfer of the uighurs detainees had been made during a white house meeting eight days before my meeting with mr. olsen. according to "the washington post" article, the first concrete step towards closing of a detention center was agreed upon during an april 14, 2000 - session at the white house. it was to be ase dolph moved. they were going to show up here and we were going to announce this said one senior official describing the swift secretive operation that was designed by the administration to putting up any political outcry that could prevent the transfer. mr. walls goes on following the publication of this article in april and i personally call mr. olsen to ask whether he was aware of the time of any meeting with him on my meeting with him on april 22nd, to thousand 9
that a decision had already been made on the transfer of the detainees. he told me that he was aware of the decision prior to our meeting. i believe i was intentionally misled by mr. olsen and other administration officials during my april 22nd meeting with the task force, but i'm also concerned that the attorney general did not acknowledge that a decision had been made when he appeared before the house commerce a house appropriations subcommittee in the following day. that's why i was surprised when my office was notified by the federal employee that the administration was misleading the congress and planned to secretly transferred the detainee's a around may 1st, 2009. now white understand you are saying you were not at liberty to discuss the details of any particular detainee, but this goes beyond that. his comments go beyond that so i want to give you a full opportunity to address what
congressman wolf remembers about that meeting. at the time that briefing occurred, congressman wolf, in april 21st or 22nd, they're had at that point and a decision by senior level members of the administration, again, the process was to make recommendations to a senior review group in this case this went to a very high level group of senior officials and the decision at that point i think april 14th is the right date i went back and looked at my notes to have been the decision to take to move transferred a small number of detainees, uighurs detainee's to the united states. there was not at that time a decision on which detainee's to move or as i recall no decision about where exactly they would go. but i remember a time of the briefing that there had actually been as i said a decision to
move the two detainee's to uighurs detainees to transfer those detainees to the united states. so, at that time, they're had been that decision. the fbi and the department of homeland security as i recall were given the responsibility not my task force, not guantanamo task force to determine which detainee's were the right to move given the consideration when to do that and what circumstances owned where they would go and those efforts were underway. i at no time did i say that there was no decision to congressman wolf. i just believe it's the recollection or misperception. there were operations under way and i wasn't authorized to talk about the detainees. i did understand the frustration. i don't -- i did not mislead, i wasn't in the position to decide myself out that time and the
process was. we have met before the briefing and talked about what we were going to say and talked about in terms of the review process, and i do very much regret she has taken that view and i do understand his frustration with learning the through the press leader that that decision making process was well under way. but senator, that is exactly where that stood on that day when i briefed congressman wolf the decision to bring the detainee's at which ones and there was no decision about exactly where they would go within the united states. >> condra symbol's memo he refers to other political officials that were in that meeting. did you go back and visit with of those individuals to get their recollection of exactly what was said after congressman
wolf came forward to this? >> i talked to of verse where preparation for the briefing. i haven't talked to >> i talked to other members of that team several months ago because i talked to congressman bullfighting in april of this year and around that time i talked to a number of the individuals who were part of that briefing, and it was -- and i think our recollections were the same as to how that briefing went. >> can you provide the committee with the names of the above their individuals in the meeting at that time within the next 24 hours? >> absolutely. absolutely. and i have the other steps i took, vice chairman, was to talk about the department of justice legislative affairs office, and i believe that the attorney general submitted a letter to the kennedy along the same lines
the ground rules for that briefing or that we would talk about the process but not the specific decisions were detainee's. and in fact a letter was sent to congressman wolf in july of 2009, so after the april 2009 briefing which reaffirmed the decisions in the detainee's or not the subject on which the briefings with ochre or had occurred that we were able to talk about the process, so even at that time in july 2009 in the letter to congressman wolf, that was made clear and present it to congressman wolf in a letter from the department of justice. >> if i may add one other quick point on this because i think -- i really want to address what i understand from the committee define confirmed and in a position such as the director of the ctc, i believe wholeheartedly that in that role i have an absolute of certain
legal obligation to the best of my ability to provide all intelligence information in a full and timely way to this committee, and i believe that if i am in that position, i authority and ability to make that judgment greatly exceeds what it was in april of 2009, and the committee has my full commitment that i will live up to that obligation. >> mr. vice chair, there is a letter dated july 22nd, song and by the assistant attorney general which clearly states the officials who provided the briefing including mr. olsen to discuss the review process in general but were not authorized to discuss deliberations or decisions about any specific detainee's and it goes on to say consistent with the parameters set for the briefing she did not discuss the decision making or
specific detainee's and this would be available in the next up is senator conrad and he's not here, senator wyden? >> thank you madame chair and mr. olsen, thank you for the visit. i appreciate your candor and also taking time to go over and meet in the secure facility so we can discuss since it is matters. i've been on this committee for morgan a decade now, and i believe this is the first time we have had this top lawyer the national security agency before the committee in an open session. i'm not going to get into any details of how the nsa does business but since you're the chief legal officer at one of the country's largest intelligence agencies it's safe to say that you are an expert on
surveillance law. estimate that like to ask several areas of the surveillance law and how you and your colleagues interpret the law so we can get some of this information on the public record. >> the first question is would you agree the key portions of the patriot act has been the subject of significant secret interpretations and these interpretations are secret today? >> thank you. i did appreciate the opportunity to talk to you in your office and the classified setting to talk about some of these matters come and i appreciate your ongoing interest and concern. the direct answer to your question is there are provisions of the patriot act that are the subject of matters before the intelligence surveillance court.
that meets in a classified setting and some of the pleadings and opinions that relate to the patriot act that have been part of proceedings before the intelligence court are classified. >> so it is fair to say that the patriot act and how they are illegally interpreted are being kept secret as of today. >> it is certainly fair to say that there are opinions from the court that are classified. i feel it is important to add that those opinions are part of what is provided to this committee and the activities undertaken in accordance with those orders of the court are subject to oversight. >> would you agree the key portions of the amendment act of 2008 would be the subject of significant legal interpretations? and those are secret?
>> yes and let me add that the answer is similar to the patriot act there are particular provisions of the act in the course of implementing those provisions the government and part of this effort submits pleadings to the court and by design again under the statute that by the court issues considers those pleadings in a classified setting and issues opinions authorizing or not those activities and it is the case if i may also added as we have reviewed those opinions and looked at those opinions working with you and others that it's very difficult at times to separate those portions of the opinions that are subject to be disclosed because the only contain legal information verses the linkage or the intertwining of the legal analysis and facts. >> say you have said that there are in fact secret legal
interpretations with respect to both the patriot act and the amendment act and is their anything further that you can tell about the subject matter? >> i don't think that there's anything further i can discuss in an open setting and i know that you will appreciate that. i know that you appreciate and you do the importance of protecting the sources and methods described in those opinions. i would restate what i just said. >> my time is very short. kube giving thoughtful answers as you know we have a difference of opinion here. it's my view that we have to keep operations and methods secret, but we have to also have public awareness of bill law is on the books we are going to continue this discussion. i need to ask you one other question and that is on a different legal topic to the government agencies have the authority to use data to track the location of americans inside
the united states for intelligence purposes? >> i know that is a question that you have opposed to the director of national intelligence. it's a question that is a complicated and difficult question to answer particularly in this setting. i would say that the intelligence community is working as we speak and i know we talked to your staff in developing a comprehensive answer to that question which will be provided in writing. >> madame president, i know my time has expired but just a quick follow-up on that. you seem to be suggesting that the executive branch is not yet settled the question. is that accurate? >> i think it's important to be precise about exactly what the question is. >> the question is does the government have the authority to use the data to track the location inside the country?
i think you answered initially it haven't been settled by the executive branch by respect whether or not there is that authority. this is an extremely important point. you are saying it's not yet been settled by the executive branch it has that authority. >> there are certain circumstances in that authority. it is a very complicated and difficult question and i would ask your indulgence to allow that question to be prepared in writing to you, senator. >> thank you, madame chair. >> i know of your concerns, and we have discussed them and what i would like to do in the first hearing in september when we come back assuming there is an august break, i'd like to have that classified session and would ask mr. olsen that you have that many of prepared and
the answers in writing that you and any authority that you wish to bring with you will attend the hearing. do i have your agreement? >> madam chair, i would just like to say to you and colleagues you have been fair in terms of handling this issue. as you know, senator udall and i have had concerns about it and have been examining it in both classified and open session and i want to thank you for the when you're handling. >> you're very welcome. >> senator conrad? >> madam chair and vice chair and members of the committee, instead of asking questions i would like to make a further statement if i could, madam chair, about this nominee. she comes from a family that i have known for 30 years. a family that was on the other side of the aisle from as i
indicated before his saw there was the chief of staff and the man i defeated for the united states. yet he treated me with the greatest generosity of spirit that anybody could ask for. now i just want to say these are people of the highest of the very highest quality in every single way, the highest character. i would trust matt olsen with every penny that i've got because of the character of his family, and i know around here as all demolition derby my god when does it end? ..
i put my entire reputation on the line for this nominee. that is how strongly i feel. so, i have been here 25 years and i think i have conducted myself with character and i hope it counts for something when we have a nominee of this quality. >> thank you very much, senator. i think is a very heartfelt remarks and very much appreciated so thank you.
senator coats. >> thank you madam chair and mr. olsen, and appreciate the discussion we had in my office earlier and your testimony today. your educational background is superb and your experience background is if not unmatched, very impressive. and the recommendations you have had from former attorney general mccaskey and mr. mcconnell and general alexander speak highly a few and other people, very credible people including senator conrad have spoken about your character, your family and the kind of person you are and i think it is a high recommendation. from my colleague as well as a number of other people. as you know we discussed in my office concerned with senator saxby discussed with you. i don't want to repeat all of that. i do want to state that it is
disturbing that listening these news sources are credible about secretive plans, a stealth plan, it is disturbing if those are true. these are reputable news organizations. ism "the washington post," which i don't always agree with everything they do, but they usually check very carefully before they make this type of allegation, this serious of an allegation, this kind of can't talk good stealthy secret plan. you have discussed and for the record explained your position relative to this, where you were and your relationship with mr. wolf and so forth. but the larger question is, given the politics of the issue at the time, the fact that a decision was made by someone at the highest levels to end acts
to bypass through a stealthy secret plan is a serious, serious charge and if true, a serious serious offense. my question to you is, and you make your pledge to us, that you will not withhold any type of intelligence that is available to you from this committee, and i take you at your word for that. what i want to ask you is the reverse of that. if you become aware of some action or policy decision, some piece of intelligence that this committee ought to know about, but that is politically sensitive and perhaps there are concerns that you might be sharing information that people at policy levels don't want shar